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Full text of "Under the punkah"

UNDER THE PUNKAH. 




BY 

PHIL ROBINSON, 

AUTHOR OF "IN MY INDIAN GARDEN," ETC. 



llontiou : 

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON, 
CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET. 

1881. 
[All rights reserved.} 



sanw 



IN MY INDIAN GARDEN. 

WITH A PREFACE 

BY EDWIN ARNOLD, M.A., C.S.I., F.R.G.S., ETC. 
Third Edition. 




"UNDER THE PUNKAH." 



PREFATORY MOTTOES, 

BY WAY OF ARGUMENT. 

PAGE 

THE MAN-EATING TREE i 

' ' But say, where grows this Tree, from hence how far ? ' 

Eve to Serpent. 
"On the blasted heath 
Fell Upas sits, the Hydra-tree of death." Darwin. 

" Here the foul harpies build their nests 

. . . with rueful sound, 
Perch'd in the dismal tree, they fill the air." Dante. 

" Not a tree is to be found in the valley. Not a beast 
or bird, or any living thing, lives in its vicinity." Foersch. 

MY WIFE'S BIRDS 14 

THE PARROT 17 

" That odious libel of a human voice." Cffwper. 

"His words, like arrows 
That know no aim beyond the archer's wit, 
Strike sometimes what eludes philosophy." Shelley. 

THE BULLFINCH 26 

'" The mellow bullfinch." Thompson. 

" Whistles soft his flute-like note." Savage. 



iv Prefatory Mottoes. 

PAGE 

THE CANARY 2 7 

" A bird for thee in silken bands I hold, 
Whose yellow plumage shines like polished gold. 
From distant isles the lovely stranger came, 
And bears the fortunate Canaries' name." Lyttleton. 

THE LINNET . 2 7 

"The warbling (Philips), chirping (Falconer), artless 
(Shenstone), merry (Scotf), chanting (Burns), linnet, with 
unnumbered notes (Cunningham}" 

HUNTING OF THE SOKO -35 

" My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand." 

Titus Andronicus. 

" It is no gentle chase." Venus and Adonis. 

" Whence and what art thou, execrable shape ? 
That darest, though grim and terrible, to advance 
Thy miscreated front." Paradise Lost. 

" You do it wrong, being so majestical, 
To offer it the show of violence." Hamlet. 

" God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man." 

Portia. 

" With a groan that had something terribly human in it, 
and yet was full of brutishness, the man-ape fell forward 
on his face." Du Chaillu. 

LEGEND OF THE BLAMELESS PRIEST 64 

SIGHT-SEEING 73 

EASTERN SMELLS AND WESTERN NOSES .... 169 

"We confess that beside the smell of species there may 
be individual odours . . . but that an unsavoury odour is 
gentilitious or national, if rightly understood, we cannot well 
concede, nor will the information of reason or sense induce 
it." Sir Thos. Broiune. 



Prefatory Mottoes. v 

PAGE 

"A nose stood in the middle of her face." lago. 

"A good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for 
the other senses." Aulolycus. 

" The literature of Noses is extensive. Sterne has a 
chapter on them in ' Tristram Shandy,' and other authors 
have contributed respectively ' a Sermon on Noses ;' 
' On the Dignity, Gravity, and Authority of Noses ;' 
' The Noses of Adam and Eve ;' ' Pious Meditations 
on the Nose of the Virgin Mary ;' ' Review of Noses.' 
Shakespeare was never tired of poking fun at the nose or 
drawing morals from it, but what is more remarkable it 
might easily be proved constructively from what he has 
said that he believed with Professor Jager that ' the nose is 
the soul."' Orielana 

GAMINS 181 

"They are not dirty by chance or accident say twice 
or thrice per diem, but they are always dirty." 

Christopher North, 

"O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide, 
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, 
That did not better for my life provide 
Than public means, which public manners breeds. 

Sonnet (Shakespeare). 

STONE THROWING 183 

" That trick of throwing a stone at a tree and attaching 
some mighty issue to hitting or missing, which you will find 
mentioned in one or more biographies, I well remember." 

Wendell Holmes. 

" ist Serv. Nay, if we be forbidden stones, we'll fall 
to it with our teeth." Henry VI. 

" That boy, rather than not throw at all, would throw 
the corner-stone of his father's house, or his grandfather's 
gravestone, the Helga Feli sanctified to Norway by Thorolff 
or the black crystal of the Kaaba, the blarney stone, or the 
holy rocks of Stennis. Nothing would be sacred from him, 



vi Prefatory Mottoes. 

PAGE 

if he wanted to throw. But he might plead the practice to 
be sanctified ; for, setting aside other precedents, did not 
Adam and Abraham pelt the Devil with stones when he 
disturbed them at prayers, and had not the Greeks many 
stones which the gods themselves threw down from Olym- 
pus. Jupiter was always throwing stones. Thus old Lear, 
invoking punishment, calls on the gods to pelt him with 
' stones of sulphur. 5 " Orielana. 

TAILORS 193 

" Some foolish knave, I think, it first began 
The slander that three tailors are one man." Taylor. 

"O monstrous arrogance ! Thou liest, 
Thou thread, thou thimble, 
Thou yard, three quarters, half 
Yard, quarter, nail ; 

Thou flea, thou nit, thou winter cricket, thou 
Braved in mine own house with a skein of thread ! 
Away, thou rag, thou quantity, thou remnant !" 

Taming of the Shreiv. 

" Give the gods a thankful sacrifice. When it pleaseth 
their deities to take the wife of a man from him, it shows to 
man the tailors of the earth." Antony and Cleopatra. 
" A tailor makes a man? Aye, a tailor, sir." Lear. 
" Remember how Master Feeble, ' the forcible Feeble,' 
proved himself the best of Falstaff's recruits ; with what 
discretion Robin Starveling played the part of Thisby"s 
mother before the Duke, and do not forget to their credit 
the public spirit of the tailors of Tooley Street." Orielana. 
" I have a honest lad to my taylor, who I never knew 
guilty of one truth no, not when it had been to his 
advantage not to lye." Montaigne. 

THE HARA-KIRI 198 

" Escape in deeath from obloquy I sought, 
Though just to others, to myself unjust." Dante. 



Prefatory Mottoes. vii 

PAGB 

" Temea, lassa ! la morte, e non avca, 
Poi di fuggirla ardire." Tasso. 

"The pitiful, pitiless knife." Tennyson. 
" Oh ! happy dagger." Juliet. 

ISTE PUER 2IO 

" Let him mature : you cannot ripen fruit by beating it." 

Telugu Proverb. 

"His disgrace is to be called boy." Love's Labour Lost. 
" Unrespective boys." Richard HI. 

" St. Nicholas thought well enough of boys to become 
their patron saint." Orielana. 

DEATH, THE DAUGHTER OF MERCY 224 

DOGS WE HAVE ALL MET . 23! 

" Give to dogs what thou deny'st to men." 

Timon of Athens. 
" In the Rabbinical book it saith 
The dogs howl when with icy breath 
Great Sammael the Angel of Death. 

Takes through the town his flight. " Longfellow. 



2 Under the Punkali. 

the earth with something more than ordinary diligence. 
But in the narrative of his travels he did not, unfortunately, 
preserve the judicious caution of Xenophon between 
" the thing seen " and " the thing heard," and thus it came 
about that the town-councillors of Brunsbiittel (to whom 
he had shown a duck-billed platypus, caught alive by 
him in Australia, and who had him posted for "an 
importer of artificial vermin ") were not alone in their 
scepticism of some of the old man's tales. 

Thus, for instance, who could hear and believe the tale 
of the man-sucking tree from which he had barely escaped 
with life ? He called it himself " more terrible than the 
Upas." " This awful plant, that rears its splendid death- 
shade in the central solitude of a Nubian fern forest, 
sickens by its unwholesome humours all vegetation from its 
immediate vicinity, and feeds upon the wild beasts that, in 
the terror of the chase, or the heat of noon, seek the 
thick shelter of its boughs ; upon the birds that, flitting 
across the open space, come within the charmed circle 
of its power, or innocently refresh themselves from the 
cups of its great waxen flowers ; upon even man himself 
when, an infrequent prey, the savage seeks its asylum in 
the storm, or turns from the harsh foot-wounding sword- 
grass of the glade, to pluck the wondrous fruit that 
hang plumb down among the wondrous foliage." And such 
fruit ! "glorious golden ovals, great honey drops, swelling 
by their own weight into pear-shaped translucencies. 
The foliage glistens with a strange dew, that all day long 



The Man-eating Tree. 3 

drips on to the ground below, nurturing a rank growth of 
grasses, which shoot up in places so high that their spikes 
of fierce blood-fed green show far up among the deep- 
tinted foliage of the terrible tree, and, like a jealous 
body-guard, keep concealed the fearful secret of the 
charnel-house within, and draw round the black roots of 
the murderous plant a decent screen of living green." 

Such was his description of the plant ; and the other 
day, looking up in a botanical dictionary, I find that there 
is really known to naturalists a family of " carnivorous " 
plants ; but I see that they are most of them very small, 
and prey upon little insects only. My maternal uncle, 
however, knew nothing of this, for he died before the 
days of the discovery of the sun dew and pitcher plants, 
and grounding his knowledge of the man-sucking tree 
simply on his own terrible experience of it, explained its 
existence by theories of his own. Denying the fixity of 
all the laws of nature except one, that the stronger shall 
endeavour to consume the weaker, and " holding even 
this fixity to be itself only a means to a greater general 
changefulness," he argued that since any partial distri- 
bution of the faculty of self-defence would presume an 
unworthy partiality in the Creator, and since the sensual 
instincts of beast and vegetable are manifestly analogous 
" the world must be as percipient as sentient throughout." 
Carrying on his theory (for it was something more than 
" hypothesis " with him) a stage or two further, he arrived 
at the belief that, " given the necessity of any imminent 
B 2 



4 Under the Punkah. 

danger or urgent self-interest, every animal or vegetable 
could eventually revolutionize its nature, the wolf feeding 
on grass or nesting in trees, and the violet arming her- 
self with thorns or entrapping insects." 

"How?" he would ask, "can we claim for man the 
consequence of perceptions to sensations, and yet deny 
to beasts that hear, see, feel, smell, and taste, a percipient 
principle co-existent with their senses ? And if in the 
whole range of the ' animate ' world there is this gift of 
self-defence against extirpation and offence against 
weakness, why is the ' inanimate ' world, holding as fierce 
a struggle for existence as the other, to be left defence- 
less and unarmed ? And I deny that it is. The Brazilian 
epiphyte strangles the tree and sucks out its juices. The 
tree, again, to starve off its vampire parasite, withdraws 
its juices into its roots, and piercing the ground in 
some new place, turns the current of its sap into other 
growths. The epiphyte then drops off the dead boughs 
on to the fresh green sprouts springing from the ground 
beneath it and so the fight goes on. Again, look at 
the Indian peepul tree ; in what does the fierce yearning 
of its roots towards the distant well differ from the sad 
struggling of the camel to the oasis or of Sennacherib's 
army to the saving Nile ? 

" Is the sensitive plant unconscious ! I have walked 
for miles through plains of it, and watched, till the 
watching almost made me afraid lest the plants should 
pluck up courage and turn upon me, the green 



T/ie Man-eating Tree. 5 

carpet paling into silver grey before my feet, and 
fainting away all round me as I walked. So strangely 
did I feel the influence of this universal aversion, that I 
would have argued with the plant ; but what was the use ? 
If only I stretched out my hands, the mere shadow of 
the limb terrified the vegetable to sickness ; shrubs crum 
bled up at every commencement of my speech; and at my 
periods great sturdy-looking bushes, to whose robustness 
I had foolishly appealed, sank in pallid supplication. 
Not a leaf would keep me company. A breath went forth 
from me that sickened life. My mere presence para- 
lyzed life, and I was glad at last to come out among 
a less timid vegetation, and to feel the resentful spear- 
grass retaliating on the heedlessness that would have 
crushed it. The vegetable world, however, has its 
revenges. You may keep the guinea-pig in a hutch, but 
how will you pet the basilisk ? The little sensitive plant 
in your garden amuses your children (who will find 
pleasure also in seeing cockchafers spin round on a 
pin), but how could you transplant a vegetable that seizes 
the running deer, strikes down the passing bird, and 
once taking hold of him, sucks the carcase of man 
himself, till his matter becomes as vague as his mind, 
and all his ' animate ' capabilities cannot snatch him from 
the terrible embrace of God help him ! an ' inanimate ' 
tree ? " 

" Many years ago," said my uncle, " I turned my rest- 
less steps towards Central Africa, and made the journey 



6 Under the Punkah. 

from where the Senegal empties itself into the Atlantic 
to the Nile, skirting the Great Desert, and reaching Nubia 
on my way to the eastern coast. I had with me then three 
native attendants, two of them brothers, the third, Otona, 
a young savage from the gaboon uplands, a mere lad in 
his teens ; and one day, leaving my mule with the two 
men, who were pitching my tent for the night, I went 
on with my gun, the boy accompanying me, towards a 
fern forest, which I saw in the near distance. As I 
approached it I found the forest was cut into two 
by a wide glade, and seeing a small herd of the common 
antelope, an excellent beast in the pot, browsing their 
way along the shaded side, I crept after them. Though 
ignorant of their real danger, the herd was suspicious, 
and slowly trotting along before me, enticed me for a mile 
or more along the verge of the fern growths. Turning 
a corner I suddenly became aware of a solitary tree 
growing in the middle of the glade one tree alone. It 
struck me at once that I had never seen a tree exactly like 
it before ; but being intent upon venison for my supper, 
I looked at it only long enough to satisfy my first 
surprise at seeing a single plant of such rich growth 
flourishing luxuriantly in a spot where only the harsh 
fern-canes seemed to thrive. 

" The deer meanwhile were midway between me and 
the tree, and looking at them I saw they were going to 
cross the glade. Exactly opposite them was an opening 
in the forest, in which I should certainly have lost my 



The Man-eating Tree. 7 

supper ; so I fired into the middle of the family as they 
were filing before me. I hit a young fawn, and the rest 
of the herd, wheeling round in their sudden terror, made 
off in the direction of the tree, leaving the fawn struggling 
on the ground. Otona, the boy, ran forward at my order 
to secure it, but the little creature seeing him coming, 
attempted to follow its comrades, and at a fair pace 
held on their course. The herd had meanwhile reached 
the tree, but suddenly, instead of passing under it, 
swerved in their career, and swept round it at some yards 
distance. 

" Was I mad ? or did the plant really try to catch the 
deer? On a sudden I saw, or thought I saw, the tree 
violently agitated, and while the ferns all round were 
standing motionless in the dead evening air, its boughs 
were swayed by some sudden gust towards the herd, 
and swept in the force of their impulse almost to the 
ground. I drew my hand across my eyes, closed them 
for a moment, and looked again. The tree was as mo- 
tionless as myself ! 

" Towards it, and now close to it, the boy was running 
in excited pursuit of the fawn. He stretched out his 
hands to catch it. It bounded from his eager grasp. 
Again he reached forward, and again it escaped him. 
There was another rush forward, and the next instant 
boy and deer were beneath the tree. 

" And now there was no mistaking what I saw. 

" The tree was convulsed with motion, leaned forward, 



8 Under the Punkah. 

swept its thick foliaged boughs to the ground, and 
enveloped from my sight the pursuer and the pursued ! 
I was within a hundred yards, and the cry of Otona 
from the midst of the tree came to me in all the clear- 
ness of its agony. There was then one stifled, strang- 
ling scream, and except for the agitation of the leaves 
where they had closed upon the boy, there was not a 
sign of life! 

" I called out ' Otona !' No answer came. I tried to 
call out again, but my utterance was like that of some 
wild beast smitten at once with sudden terror and its 
death wound. I stood there, changed from all semblance 
of a human being. Not all the terrors of earth together 
could have made me take my eye from the awful plant, 
or my foot off the ground. I must have stood thus for 
at least an hour, for the shadows had crept out from the 
forest half across the glade before that hideous paroxysm 
of fear left me. My first impulse then was to creep 
stealthily away lest the tree should perceive me, but my 
returning reason bade me approach it. The boy 
might have fallen into the lair of some beast of prey, or 
perhaps the terrible life in the tree was that of some 
great serpent among its branches. Preparing to defend 
myself, I approached the silent tree the harsh grass 
crisping beneath my feet with a strange loudness the 
cicadas in the forest shrilling till the air seemed throb- 
bing round me with waves of sound. The terrible truth 
was soon before me in all its awful novelty. 



The Man-eating Tree. 9 

"The vegetable first discovered my presence at about 
fifty yards distance. I then became aware of a stealthy 
motion among the thick-lipped leaves, reminding me of 
some wild beast slowly gathering itself up from long 
sleep, a vast coil of snakes in restless motion. Have you 
ever seen bees hanging from a bough a great cluster of 
bodies, bee clinging to bee and by striking the bough, 
or agitating the air, caused that massed life to begin 
sulkily to disintegrate, each insect asserting its individual 
right to move ? And do you remember how, without one 
bee leaving the pensile cluster, the whole became gradually 
instinct with sullen life and horrid with a multitudinous 
motion ? 

" I came within twenty yards of it. The tree was quiver- 
ing through every branch, muttering for blood, and, help- 
less with rooted feet, yearning with every branch towards 
me. It was that Terror of the Deep Sea which the 
men of the northern fiords dread, and which, anchored 
upon some sunken rock, stretches into vain space its 
longing arms, pellucid as the sea itself, and as relentless 
maimed Polypheme groping for his victims. 

" Each separate leaf was agitated and hungry. Like 
hands they fumbled together, their fleshy palms curling 
upon themselves and again unfolding, closing on each 
other and falling apart again, thick, helpless, fingerless 
hands rather lips or tongues than hands dimpled 
closely with little cup-like hollows. I approached nearer 
and nearer, step by step, till I saw that these soft horrors 



io Under the Punk all. 

were all of them in motion, opening and closing in 
cessantly. 

" I was now within ten yards of the farthest reaching 
bough. Every part of it was hysterical with excitement. 
The agitation of its members was awful sickening yet 
fascinating. In an ecstasy of eagerness for the food so 
near them, the leaves turned upon each other. Two 
meeting would suck together face to face, with a force 
that compressed their joint thickness to a half, thinning 
the two leaves into one, now grappling in a volute like 
a double shell, writhing like some green worm, and 
at last faint with the violence of the paroxysm, would 
slowly separate, falling apart as leeches gorged drop off 
the limbs. A sticky dew glistened in the dimples, 
welled over, and trickled down the leaf. The sound of 
it dripping from leaf to leaf made it seem as if the tree 
was muttering to itself. The beautiful golden fruit as 
they swung here and there were clutched now by one 
leaf, and now by another, held for a moment close en- 
folded from the sight, and then as suddenly released. 
Here a large leaf, vampire-like, had sucked out the 
juices of a smaller one. It hung limp and bloodless, 
like a carcase of which the weasel has tired. 

" I watched the terrible struggle till my starting eyes, 
strained by intense attention, refused their office, and 
I can hardly say what I saw. But the tree before me 
seemed to have become a live beast. Above me I felt 
conscious was a great limb, and each of its thousand 



The Man-eating Tree. 1 1 

clammy hands reached downwards towards me, fumbling. 
It strained, shivered, rocked, and heaved. It flung itself 
about in despair. The boughs, tantalized to madness 
with the presence of flesh, were tossed to this side and 
to that, in the agony of a frantic desire. The leaves 
were wrung together as the hands of one driven to 
madness by sudden misery. I felt the vile dew spurting 
from the tense veins fall upon me. My clothes began 
to give out a strange odour. The ground I stood on 
glistened with animal juices. 

"Was I bewildered by terror? Had my senses 
abandoned me in my need ? I know not but the tree 
seemed to me to be alive. Leaning over towards me, it 
semed to be pulling up its roots from the softened ground, 
and to be moving towards me. A mountainous monster, 
with myriad lips, mumbling together for my life, was 
upon me ! 

" Like one who desperately defends himself from 
imminent death, I made an effort for life, and fired my 
gun at the approaching horror. To my dizzied senses 
the sound seemed far off, but the shock of the recoil 
partially recalled me to myself, and starting back I re- 
loaded. The shot had torn their way into the soft 
body of the great thing. The trunk as it received the 
wound shuddered, and the whole tree was struck with a 
sudden quiver. A fruit fell down slipping from the 
leaves, now rigid with swollen veins, as from carven 
foliage. Then I saw a large arm slowly droop, and 



1 2 Under the Pttnkah. 

without a sound it was severed from the juice-fattened 
bole, and sank down softly, noiselessly, through the 
glistening leaves. I fired again, and another vile frag- 
ment was powerless dead. At each discharge the terrible 
vegetable yielded a life. Piecemeal I attacked it, killing 
here a leaf and there a branch. My fury increased 
with the slaughter till, when my ammunition was ex- 
hausted, the splendid giant was left a wreck as if some 
hurricane had torn through it. On the ground lay heaped 
together the fragments, struggling, rising and falling, 
gasping. Over them drooped in dying languor a few 
stricken boughs, while upright in the midst stood, 
dripping at every joint, the glistening trunk. 

" My continued firing had brought up one of my men 
on my mule. He dared not, so he told me, come near 
me, thinking me mad. I had now drawn my hunting- 
knife, and with this was fighting with the leaves. Yes 
but each leaf was instinct with a horrid life ; and more than 
once I felt my hand entangled for a moment and seized 
as if by sharp lips. Ignorant of the presence of my 
companion I made a rush forward over the fallen 
foliage, and with a last paroxysm of frenzy drove my knife 
up to the handle into the soft bole, and, slipping on the 
fast congealing sap, fell, exhausted and unconscious, 
among the still panting leaves. 

" My companions carried me back to the camp, and 
after vainly searching for Otona awaited my return to 
consciousness. Two or three hours elapsed before I 



The Man-eating Tree. 1 3 

could speak, and several days before I could approac 
the terrible thing. My men would not go near it. It 
was quite dead ; for as we came up a great-billed bird 
with gaudy plumage that had been securely feasting on 
the decaying fruit, flew up from the wreck. We remove 
the rotting foliage, and there, among the dead leaves 
still limp with juices, and piled round the roots, we 
found the ghastly relics of many former meals, and it 
last nourishment the corpse of little Otona. To have 
removed the leaves would have taken too long, so we 
buried the body as it was with a hundred vampire leaves 
still clinging to it." 

Such, as nearly as I remember it, was my uncle's 
story of the Man-eating Tree. 




MY WIFE'S BIRDS. 




A REMINISCENCE. 

Y wife once made up her mind that she 
wanted a bird. She had, she told me, 
many reasons for wanting one. One was 
that the landlady's son was apprenticed to a bird- 
cage maker, and had promised to use all his influence 
with his employer who, the landlady told my wife, 
was a very civil man to get us a cage cheap. 
Another reason for having a bird was, that the old 
groundsel man at the corner asked her every day if she 
would not buy a penn'orth of the weed for her " dear 
little birds," and that she felt an impostor (inasmuch as 
she had no bird) every time she met the groundsel man. 

" But, my dear," said I, " you have not got a bird ; 
and if you only tell him so, he will give up annoying you." 

" He does not annoy me at all," she replied ; " he is 
a very nice, respectable, old man indeed, and I am sure 
no one could have been angry at his way of asking you to 
buy his groundsel and then it was so beautifully fresh ! " 

" But you don't mean to say you bought any ? " I 
asked in surprise. 



My Wife's Birds. 15 

" Yes I did," was the answer ; " it was so beautifully 
fresh and I did so want to have a bird and so, when- 
ever I refuse to buy any now, he thinks I am too mean 
to give my birds a pennyworth of groundsel now and then. 
It is very cruel to birds to keep them without any green 
food at all." 

I felt at the time that there was something wrong about 
this line of argument, but could not quite see where to fix 
the error without going very far back to the beginning 
(though women, it seems to me, always do this), so I let 
it pass, not thinking it worth while to point out again 
that as she had no bird, the groundsel seller's animad- 
versions and suspicions were without foundation, and 
therefore absurd. 

And then my wife went on to give other reasons for 
wanting to have a bird ; but the only one I can remember 
just now, was to the effect that the bird would not give 
any trouble to anybody but herself, and that it could not 
possibly matter to me whether she had a bird or not. I 
am not quite sure that I have given that reason right, but 
it is about as near as I generally get to some of my wife's 
reasons for things. 

" It will, you see," she repeated, as she cracked an 
egg, "be no trouble to anybody but myself. I will 
look after it myself and " 

" The Lord in His pitiful mercy keep an eye upon that 
bird ! " I piously ejaculated. 

" Oh, John ! and of course I will feed it and wash it 



1 6 Under the Punkah. 

its cage I mean not feed the cage you know, but wash it 
and when I go out to do the housekeeping for our- 
selves " which by the way always seems to me to consist 
in meeting friends at the gate and then going off with 
them to look at new music "I will do the bird's 
housekeeping too." 

Now, I really never had any objection to a bird from the 
first. On the contrary, I like birds little ones. But my 
wife has, all through, insisted on it that I do not love 
" God's creatures," as she calls them, and took from the 
first a certain complacent pride in having made me more 
" Christian-like " in this matter. " You won't hurt it, 
will you, John?" she pleaded pathetically, when she 
hung up a linnet. 

" Hurt it ! " I said, in astonishment, for I am a very 
Buddhist in my tenderness to animals. " On the con- 
trary " 

" Yes, dear, I know how you hate them ; and you are a 
sweet, good, old darling to say you love them, just to 
please me." 

"You are quite mistaken," I began, "in sup- 
posing " 

" No I am not, you good old duck, for you always 
pretended just in the same way that you liked Lucy (my 
wife's cousin), though I know you don't, for soon after 
we were married, I remember you called her a gad-about 
and a gossip." 

And the end of it was that I was mean enough to 



My Wife's Birds. 17 

accept the virtues of self-denial and consideration thus 
thrust upon me. Consequently, I have had ever since 
to affect a condescension whenever I take notice of the 
birds, although when my wife is not there, I waste a 
good deal of time over the pretty things. 

But ' God's creatures " after all is a term that you 
can lump most things under. And if my wife had drawn 
a distinction between the linnet and her great parrot, 
more like a vulture than a cage bird, I would have can- 
didly confessed to a difference in my regard for the two 
fowls. Linnets are very harmless, I fancy. At any 
rate ours never does anything more outrageous than 
splash its water and seed about of a morning. For the 
rest of the day, it is mostly hopping off the floor on to 
t he perch and back again, except when you go to look 
at it close. It then hops only sideways off the perch on 
to the wires of the cage and back again. 

But the parrot ! It is dead now and it took as much 
burying as a horse was more of a reptile than a bird, I 
should say. At any rate it had very few feathers on it 
after a bit, and the way it worried my wife's Maltese 
terrier was most unusual, I fancy, in a bird. The first 
time it pounced down on Tiny, who was only going 
to eat some of the parrot's pudding, we thought it 
was going to eat the dog though I found, on looking it 
up since, that parrots never eat other animals, as vultures 
and other birds do sometimes. But it wasn't. It was 
only pulling fluff off the dog. But Tiny's fluff grows so 



1 8 Under the Punkah. 

fast, and he is so light, that we generally pick him up by it. 
And so when the parrot began to pull at it, it rolled the 
dog all about, and as one of the bird's claws got caught in 
the fluff of the dog and the other in the fluff of the hearth- 
rug, they got rolled up in the corner of it the terrier and 
the parrot together ; and the noises that proceeded from 
those two, and the confusion there was of hearth-rug and 
fluff and feathers, defies all description. Getting them 
unmixed took us ever so long. We had first of all to give 
the parrot a spoon to hold in his mouth, and then a fork 
in one claw, while we undid the other. And as soon as 
it was undone, it got its claw fixed round my thumb, and 
then, dropping the spoon, it took hold of my cuff with 
its beak. And when I had got the bird off me, it got 
fastened on to my wife ; for the thing was so frightened at 
itself, it wanted something, it didn't matter what, to hold 
on to. But at last we got it on to the curtains, and 
there it hung half the morning, saying to itself, as it 
always does when it's put out, " Polly's very sick ; poor 
Polly's going to die." Tiny, in the meantime, had dis- 
appeared into the scullery under the sink, and to the last 
day of the parrot's life, whenever the dog heard the parrot 
scream, it used to make for the same spot. And as the 
parrot was mostly screeching all day, the dog pretty well 
lived under the sink. But the parrot died at last, poor 
beast. 

The few feathers it had on must have had something 
to do with it, I fancy. If I were a bird, I know, and 



My Wifes Birds. 19 

had so few feathers, I should die too. It does not 
seem much worth living with so few on. One could 
hardly call oneself a bird. 

So one evening, when I came home, I found Jenny in 
tears, and there on the hearth-rug, was the poor old 
parrot, dead, and about as bald as a bird could be 
except in a pie. I asked Jenny how it all happened ; but 
she couldn't speak at first for crying, and when she did 
tell me, it was heart-breaking to hear her sobs between 
the words. 

" You know," she began, " Polly hasn't been eating 
enough for a long time, and to-day, when I came in from 
my housekeeping, I saw him looking very sad about 
something. So I called him, and he came down off his 
perch. But he couldn't hop ; he was too weak, so he 
walked quite slowly across the floor to me and so un- 
steadily ! I knew there was something dreadful going to 
happen. And when he got to my feet he couldn't climb 
up my dress, as he generally does. And I said to him, 
' Polly, what's the matter with you ? ' and he said " but 
here she broke down altogether for a bit "and he 
looked up at me and said, " Polly's very sick? And when I 
picked him up he was as light as oh ! so light. And he 
sat on my lap without moving, only breathing very hard. 
And then after a little, I saw his head drooping, so I 
touched him to wake him up. And he started up, and 
shook himself so hard that he rolled over on his side, 
and then I heard him saying something to himself, so I 
c 2 



2O Under the Punkah. 

put down my head to listen. And he opened his eye 
again quite wide, and looked at me just as if he knew 
who I was quite well, and whispered to me, ' poor Polly's 
going to die.' And then he shut his wings up tight, and 
stretched out one leg after the other and and died." 

I was very sorry for it, after he was really dead, for 
Jenny was very fond of him, and the parrot, I think, was 
very fond of her. So when I looked round and saw 
Tiny eating the dead bird's pudding, I gave a screech 
like the parrot used to give, and the little wretch shot 
off in a flurry of fluff to the sink, where we let him stay 
until we had buried poor Polly under the laurel-tree. 
Jenny proposed to have it stuifed ; but considering the 
proposal of stuffing such a naked bird absurd, I evaded 
the suggestion nor did she press it. 

But all this time I have been anticipating a great deal. 
It was the first mention of the parrot that set me off on 
the digression. I have not yet told you how my wife 
got her birds, or what birds she has got. 

Well, I had given my consent, you remember, to a 
bird being bought ; so immediately after breakfast, my 
wife went out to choose one " a little one," she said. 
But before she went out she confided her want to the 
landlady, who, going out herself soon after, also interested 
herself in the selection, and told a few bird-fanciers to 
send up some birds to look at " little ones ; " moreover, 
before going out, she told her son that my wife wanted 
a bird "a little one" so when he went to the cage- 



My Wifcs Birds. 21 

maker's he mentioned the fact, and during the day the 
cage-maker told about twenty bird-fanciers who came in 
on business that he could put them in the way of a 
customer meaning my wife. " She wants a little bird," 
he said. 

Well, I woke next morning a little earlier than usual, 
and with a vague general feeling that I was somewhere in 
the country probably at my uncle's. All the air outside 
seemed to be full of twittering, just as I remembered hear- 
ing in the early mornings at my uncle's place in the 
country where sparrows were as thick as the leaves in 
the ivy on the house, and the robins and wrens, and 
those 'kinds of birds, used to swarm in the shrubbery. 
My wife was awake too, and as soon as she found me 
stirring she began (as she does on most mornings) to 
tell me a dream. I always find that other people's 
dreams haven't, as a rule, much plot in them, and so they 
don't tell well. Things always seem to come about and 
end up somehow without much reason. 

And what my wife's dream was about I did not exactly 
understand at the time, but it was about the Tropical 
Court at the Crystal Palace. She dreamt that it was on fire, 
and all the parrots had gone mad with fright and were flying 
about, and so she ran down to the station, with all the crea- 
tures after her; but there was no room for her in the train, as 
all the parrots, and love birds, and lories, and parroquets, 
and cockatoos, and macaws, of the Palace were scrambling 
for places, and there was such a noise and flurrying of 



22 Under the Punkali. 

feathers she was quite bewildered ; and though she told 
the guard that the birds were travelling without tickets, he 
only called out " all right " to the engine driver, and the 
train started off. But this frightened all the birds so that 
they came streaming out through the windows and lamp- 
holes, and flew about the station till it looked as if all 
the colours out of the advertisements had got loose and 
were flying around in strips and patches ! And so she ran 
upstairs to the omnibus, but all the cockatoos and things 
went with her, and it was just the same here, for when she 
was going to get in, the conductor said it was full inside, 
though, when she looked at the window she couldn't see 
a soul, but when she opened the door and looked in she 
found it was full of parrots and macaws; and though she 
warned the conductor that none of the birds had got any 
money, he did not seem to take any notice of her, and only 
sounded his bell, and so the 'bus started. But this fright- 
ened the birds again, so that they all came streaming out 
through the door, and flew up the street with her to the 
cab-stand; and there it was just the same and everywhere 
all day it was just the same ; but though she kept trying 
to explain to people, in an exasperated and, she felt, un- 
satisfactory way, that it was absurd and unreasonable for 
all these birds, which she had nothing to do with, to be 
following her about so, no one took any adequate in- 
terest in the matter, or seemed to think it at all irregular or 
annoying. Her conversations on the subject with police- 
men were equally inconclusive and absurd; and so the day 



My Wife's Birds. 23 

went on and very exhausting it was, she said, with the 
eternal clamour of the birds, and the smothering feeling 
of having a cloud of feathery things fluttering round you, 
and so 

I had been listening all this time after only a very 
drowsy fashion, but while she talked there stole over me 
an impression that there was a strange confusion of bird 
voices about the premises, and just as she had got to the 
words "and so," and was taking breath to remember 
what happened next in her dream, there came from 
down below a very Babel of fowls' languages. In 
every tongue spoken by birds from China to Peru, we 
heard screams, squeaks, hootings, and Growings, while 
behind and through all we were aware of a multitudinous 
chattering, twittering, and chirping, accompanied by a 
sober obligate of cooing. I stared at my wife and she 
at me. Was I asleep ? 

" Pinching is a good thing," I remembered, so I 
pinched my wife. There was no doubt of her being 
awake. I told her apologetically that I had pinched 
her in order to see if I was awake, and she was beginning 
to explain to me that I ought to have pinched myself ' ; 
when we heard a knock at the door. " If you please, sir," 
(it was Mary), " but has a cockytoo gone into your 
dressing-room? It's got away from the bird man 
which, sir, if you please there's several of them at the door!" 
***** 

All the time I was dressing the volucrine clamour con- 



24 Under the Punkah. 

tinned unabated, and when I came downstairs I was not 
surprised at the sight that awaited me. The passage was 
filled with bird-cages ; and through the front door, which 
was open, I saw that the front " garden " was filled also, 
and that round the railings had collected a considerable 
mob of children, whitewashes' assistants, and errand- 
boys. I went to the dining-room window and looked out. 
My appearance was the signal for every bird man to seize 
at once two cages and hold them up for inspection. The 
contents of the cages screamed wildly ; all their friends 
on the ground screamed in sympathy, and the mob 
outside cheered the birds on to further demonstrations, 
by ill-naturedly imitating various cries. 

I kept away from the window, therefore, and waited 
till my wife came down. Her delight at the exhibition 
seemed to me a little misplaced, the more so as she in- 
sisted on holding a levee at once. I began my breakfast 
therefore alone, but I hope I may never have such a 
meal again. Every other bird being warranted tame, 
was allowed to leave its cage, and very soon there was a 
parrot in the sugar basin, three macaws on the chandeliers, 
and a cockatoo on the back of each chair. The food on 
the table attracted a jackdaw, who dragged a rasher of 
bacon into the jelly-glass before his designs were sus- 
pected, and one wretched bird finding me out under the 
table, climbed up the leg of my trousers by his beak and 
claws. But my wife got bewildered at last, and appealed 
to me to settle matters. I did so summarily by explaining 



Wife's Birds. 25 

that my wife wanted only one bird and that a little one 
" a linnet or something of that kind." 

The disgust of the bird fanciers was instantly visible, and 
every man proceeded gloomily to repossess himself of his 
property. This was not so easy, however, as letting the 
birds go, and entailed an hour's hunting of parrots 
from corner to corner. Two cockatoos slipped down 
behind the sideboard and proceeded to fight there. 
They were only got out after moving the sideboard (the 
contents being previously taken out), and when they 
appeared were dirty beyond recognition and covered 
with cobwebs and fluff. But we found a long-missing salt 
spoon. A last, however, all seemed satisfactorily disposed 
of, when it was discovered that one of the cages was still 
empty, and a pensive voice from the chandelier drew all 
eyes upward. It was then discovered that a parrot had got 
its body inside one of the globes, and I volunteered to re- 
lease it. So standing up on a chair, I took hold of the 
protruding tail and lifted the bird out. No sooner, however, 
did it find itself released than it made one violent effort 
to escape, and succeeded leaving the tail in my hands ! 

I hastened to apologize and to offer the owner the tail, 
but the man would not accept either the apology or the 
feathers. On the contrary, he insisted that as I had 
spoiled the bird for sale I ought now to buy it. 

And thus it was that we became possessed of the 
bird whose death I have already narrated. At first it 
had a dog's life of it. I was very angry with it for foisting 



26 Under the Punkah. 

itself upon me : my wife disliked it for its tailless condi- 
tion; while the parrot itself suspected both of us as 
having designs upon its remaining feathers. But my 
wife's heart warmed to it at last, and the bird recipro- 
cated the attachment. And when it died we were really 
sorry, and so, I think, was the parrot. 

Meanwhile my wife was not satisfied with the purchase, 
and proceeded to select another bird for herself. The 
result was a canary, as I feared, and lest the canary should 
be dull with only the parrot, a bullfinch was also bought, 
and finally, for no better reason that I saw than that "it 
would be just as easy to attend to three birds as to two," 
a linnet. Of course the canary proved to be a hen bird, 
and the linnet, I still believe, is a sparrow. But of 
the bullfinch there can be no doubt. He looks a bull- 
finch all over. 

The bullfinch had only just been caught. I thought 
this a point against the bird. But my wife thought it all 
in its favour. " For now," she said, " we can train it 
exactly as we like." 

Meanwhile the bird, being quite uneducated, was 
dashing about in its cage, and little feathers came float- 
ing down, and all the cage furniture was in a heap in 
the corner. There was evidently a very clear field for 
instruction, and my wife was eager to begin at once. 

" Bullfinches are very fond of hemp seeds," said she 
oracularly, and proceeded to offer one to the bird. The 
result was eminently discouraging, for the terrified crea- 



Jfjr Wif is Birds. 

tare went mto fits. For a rime my wife was very 

pafjent, and stood there with the slippery little seed 
between In i%p i The bird, exhausted at last with 
its frantic efforts at escape, was on the floor of the cage, 
panting from far and &bgoe. 

u I am snre he win get quite time," said my wife, 
inspirited by this MMI of the bird's struggles. 
" Pretty Bully, 1 ' and she changed the seed to the left 
hand, for the other was tired. The motion was suffi- 
cient, however, to set the bird off in after paroxysm 
of fluttering, to which in the same way succeeded 
another relapse. And so it went on for half an hour, 
this contest between the wiH thing's terror and the 
woman's patience. And the bird won the day. 

" You are a very stupid little bird," said my wife 
solemnly and emphatically to the open-beaked creature, 
as she withdrew from the strife to make acquaintance 
with the canary. 

The canary was of another sort altogether, an old 
hen bird, born and bred in captivity, an artificial 
person without a scrap of soul. 

Nor did its vocal accomplishments recommend it ; 
for being a hen it only chirped, and being very old, it 
did this drearily. My wife resolved, therefore, to change 
it. She was offered ninepence for it, and indignantly 
refused the sum. Finally, she allowed it to go, with seven 
and sixpence added, in exchange for a young cock bird. 

The " linnet " meanwhile had moulted, and as its new 



28 Under the Punkah. 

feathers were a long time coming, it came to be looked 
upon as a shabby creature and the inferior among our 
pets. It did not resent the invidious comparison nor 
retaliate for the evident preference shown to the rest, 
but sitting on its perch at the back window, chuckled 
good-naturedly to itself all day long, going to sleep 
early, and growing prodigiously plump. 

The bullfinch and canary, however, became soon part 
of our lives, and every new habit or prettiness was noted 
and cherished. Both were easily tamed. A friend came 
in one day, and, going to speak to the bullfinch, was 
shocked at its wildness. 

" Why don't you tame it ? " he asked. 

" How ? " inquired my wife. " I have been trying 
hard, but I don't think they will ever begin to care for 
me." 

" Oh ! starve them," was the reply. 

" Starve them ! never ! " said my wife firmly. 

But I made a note of the advice, and that very after- 
noon, as soon as my wife had left the luncheon table, I 
nearly emptied the seed-boxes into the fire. Next morn- 
ing my wife noticed, without suspecting anything, how 
completely the birds had eaten up their allowances. I 
was of course absorbed in my newspaper. But when 
my wife went out to do her " housekeeping," I took the 
liberty of turning round the seed-boxes, so that the birds 
who meanwhile had been eating voraciously, could get 
no more. The barbarous fact escaped observation, and 



My Wife's Birds. 29 

remorse gnawing at my heart, I awaited the morrow with 
anxiety. Would the birds be tame ? But the thought 
kept recurring to me in the night watches would they be 
dead? They were not dead, however : on the contrary, 
they were very much alive. Indeed their extraordinary 
sprightliness attracted my wife's attention, and all through 
breakfast she kept drawing my attention to the conver- 
sation being kept up by the two birds. 

" How happy they are together ! " she said. " And 
how hungry ! " I thought. 

Breakfast over, she proceeded to attend to her birds, 
and then the turned boxes were discovered. 

" Oh ! " she said, " how stupid I have been ! Just 
imagine, these poor birds have had no seed all day ! ! I 
forgot to turn their seed boxes round ! ! ! " 

I cut short her self-reproaches and expressions of 
sympathy. 

" Never mind, dear : it has done them no harm 
apparently. Besides, we can see now whether starving 
does really tame them. Offer the bullfinch a hemp seed 
in your fingers." 

And the great experiment was tried. I approached to 
watch. The hungry bird recognized his favourite morsel, 
but the fingers had still terrors for his untutored mind. 
" Have a little patience," I said, as I saw my wife's face 
clouding. The bullfinch mind was grievously agitated. He 
was very hungry, and there close to him was a hemp seed. 
But then it was in those dangerous-looking hands. An 



3O Under the Punkah. 

empty stomach and timid heart fought out the point between 
them, but the engagement was obstinately contested. 
The issue trembled a thousand times in the balance. 
The bullfinch, after sitting for ten minutes with his head 
very much on one side, would sidle up to the hemp-seed 
and seem on the very point of taking it, when a movement 
of the dog on the hearth-rug, or the opening of a door, 
would startle it into its original alarm. My wife held 
out bravely, and her patience was suddenly and unex- 
pectedly rewarded. The bullfinch had evidently thought 
the matter out to the end, and had decided that death 
by starvation was preferable to tempting the terrors of 
the pretty fingers that offered him food. He was sitting 
gloomily at the farther end of the perch. But, on a sud- 
den perhaps it was a twinge inside he brightened up, 
pulled himself together, and with a desperate effort pecked 
at the seed. He did not get it, but the effort had 
broken the spell, and he soon returned emboldened, and 
taking more deliberate aim this time, extracted the prize. 
After this it was plain sailing, and for the rest of the 
morning, my wife was busy feeding the domesticated 
bullfinch from her fingers. Meanwhile, the canary 
had taken its first lesson, and whether it was that 
hunger was more overpowering, or that (as has since 
proved the case) it took the bullfinch for its model, it 
ate from the hand as if to the manner born. The success 
was complete, and my wife set apart " to-morrow " for 
another starvation preparation to further instruction. 



My Wifes Birds. 31 

But her heart was too soft, and to this day the birds 
have never been stinted again. Their education, there- 
fore, began and ended together. But I cannot say that 
I am sorry ; for I can think of no accomplishment that 
would make them more charming company. The cage 
doors are always open, and the small creatures spend 
their day as they choose, the bullfinch climbing about 
among the picture cords, the canary gazing upon his own 
reflection in the mirror. 

Their characters have developed in this freedom, and 
their individuality is as comic as it is well defined. The 
bullfinch, sturdy of body, bull-necked, and thick-legged, 
ranges the room as if all it contained was his own by 
right of conquest. There is not an article in it which he 
does not make use of as a perch or plaything, and in every 
gesture shows himself at home and in possession. As 
soon as the loaf is put down on the table, he hops on to 
it, and when my wife replaces the milk-jug, he perches 
upon that. From there to the nearest tea cup is only a 
short hop, and so he makes the round of the breakfast 
table. When the cloth is removed, he waits, chirping 
impatiently for his groundsel, and even before it can be 
arranged for him, he is in the thick of it, his beak stuffed 
with the flossy flower heads. The bath, meanwhile, is 
being prepared, and no sooner is it down on the ground, 
than he perches on the edge, tests his temperature, and 
pronounces his approval but does not often bathe. His 
seed-box has meanwhile been replenished, and in it every 



32 Under the Punkah. 

morning are put a few hemp seeds. No sooner is it in the 
cage, than the bullfinch has gone in, and plunging his head 
down into the seed, is busy picking out the favourite grains. 
Lest one should be concealed at the bottom, he jerks out 
as much of the contents as he can, and deliberately empties 
the remainder by beakfuls. Satisfied that no hemp seed 
remains, he comes out, and flying to the nearest picture, 
commences the gymnastics that occupy the greater part 
of the day. By sunset he is always back in his cage 
again, and when my wife goes to shut his door, he opens 
his beak at her threateningly, showing a ridiculous 
pink throat, and hissing like a miniature goose. This is 
not the routine of any particular day, but of every day. 
and so completely has he asserted his position as one of 
the family, that the ornaments are arranged in reference 
to his tastes, and when I talked of removing the picture 
from over the door, the project was at once thrown aside 
"for that is Bully's favourite perch." 

The canary is a curious contrast. He has as much 
spirit as the bullfinch, for he resented the first attempt at 
oppression it was a question of priority of bathing 
with such elan, that the bullfinch ceased from troubling, 
and the two are close friends on the honourable terms of 
mutual respect. But the canary is conciliatory and 
retiring. He comes on the breakfast table when it takes 
his fancy to do so, but he dose so unobtrusively, with all 
the ease of manner that betokens confidence, and yet 
with all the reserve and modesty of a gentleman. If he 



My Wifes Birds. 33 

wishes for a crumb he takes it, but instead of hopping on 
the loaf for it, he reaches it off the platter from the table. 
His day is spent before a looking-glass, in which he studies 
his own features and gestures, not unhappily, but quietly, as 
his way is. A jar that holds " spills " is his usual resort, 
and perched on it, he exercises himself in the harmless 
practice of pulling out the spills. He has never suc- 
ceeded, but this does not damp his industry. For 
groundsel he has as great a partiality as the bullfinch, 
but he waits for his share till it is put in his cage, and then 
only goes in at his leisure. The bath is a passion with 
him, and his energy in the water fills the bullfinch who 
more often makes believe than really bathes with such 
amazement, that while the flurry and splash is going on 
he watches the canary with all his eyes. The canary 
sings beautifully, not with the student note that in the 
trained bird makes a room uninhabitable, but a soft, un- 
tutored song, that nature whispered to him bar by bar, 
and so sweet is it that the matter-of-fact bullfinch always 
listens with attention, until remembering his own powers, 
he settles down in a ball' of feathers on some favourite 
vase, and chuckles obstinately through a rustic lay. 
But my wife ought to have written the account of her 
own birds herself, for she knows them better than I. 

And the little things have found, out how gentle and 
loving she is to " God's creatures ; " and when the room 
is quiet, and she is sitting working, the bullfinch will 
leave off his scrambling among the picture cords, and 



34 Under the Punkah. 

the canary his fruitless tugging at the spills, to sit down 
on her lap and shoulder, and tell her, as they best can, 
how fond they both are of her. 

For me they entertain only a distant regard ; but I like 
them immensely for all that. At any rate, though I speak 
of them as " my wife's birds," I should feel hurt if any 
one thought that they were not my birds too. 





THE HUNTING OF THE "SOKO." 

YING on my back one terribly hot day under the 
great tamarind that shades the temple of 
Saravan, in Borneo, I began to think naturally 
of iced drinks, and from them my mind wandered to 
icebergs, and from icebergs to Polar bears. 

Polar bears ! At the recollection of these animals I 
sat bolt upright, for though I had shot over nearly all 
the world, and accumulated a perfect museum of trophies, 
I had never till this moment thought of Greenland, nor 
of Polar bears ! Before this I had begun to think 
I had exhausted Nature. From the false elk of Ceylon 
to the true one of Canada, the rhinoceros of Assam to 
the coyote of Patagonia, the panther of Central India to 
the jaguars of the Amazons, I had seen everything in 
its own home, and shot it there. And for birds, I 
had hunted a so-called " moa " at Little Farm in New 
Zealand, the bustard in the Mahratta country, dropped 
geese into nearly every river of America, Europe, and 
Asia, and flushed almost all the glorious tribe of game 
birds, from the capercailzie of Norway to the quail of 
Sicily. My museum, however, wanted yet another skin 

D 2 



36 Under the Punkah. 

the Polar bear ! I cannot say the prospect pleased 
me. I would much rather have sent my compliments 
to the Polar bear and asked it to come comfortably 
into some warm climate to be shot; but regretting 
was useless, so I gave the order of the day the North 
Pole. 

In London, however, I heard of Stanley's successful 
search for Livingstone, and then it was that the 
sense of my utter nothingness came over me. All Africa 
was unshot ! It is true I had once gone from Bombay 
to Zanzibar, Dr. Kirke helping me on my way, and 
thanks to Mackinnon's agents (who were busy "pro- 
specting " a road into the interior) had bagged my hippo- 
potamus, and enjoyed many a pleasant stalk after the fine 
antelope of the Bagomoyo plains. But the Dark Con- 
tinent itself, with its cloud-like herds of hartebest and 
springbok, its droves of wind-footed gnu, its zebras, 
ostriches and lions, was still a virgin ground for me. 
But more than all these more than ostrich, gnu, or 
zebra, more than hippopotamus or lion was that mystery 
of the primeval forest " the Soko." What was the Soko ? 
Certainly not the gorilla, nor the chimpanzee, nor yet 
the ourang-outang. Was it a new beast altogether, this 
man-like thing, that shakes the forest at the sources of 
the Congo with its awful voice that desolates the vil- 
lages of the jungle tribes of Uregga, carries off the 
women captive, and meets their cannibal lords in fair 
fight ? With Soko on the brain it may be easily imagined 



The Hunting of the Soko. 37 

that the Polar bear was forgotten, and I lost no time in 
altering my arrangements to suit my altered plans. My 
snow-shoes were countermanded and solah helmets laid 
in : fur gloves and socks were exchanged for leather gaiters 
and canvas suits. 

In a month I was ready, and in another two months had 
started from Zanzibar with a following of eighteen men. 
During my voyage I had carefully read the travels of Grant, 
Speke, Burton, Livingstone, Cameron, Schweinfurth, and 
Stanley, and in all had been struck by the losses suffered 
from fatigue on the march. With large expeditions it 
was of course necessary for most to go on foot, but with 
my pigmy cortege I could afford to let them ride. Good 
strong donkeys were cheap at Zanzibar, and I bought a 
baker's dozen of them, reserving three of the best for 
myself, and allotting ten among my men, to relieve them 
either of their burdens or the fatigue of walking, accord- 
ing to any fair arrangements fair to the donkeys and to 
themselves they chose to make among themselves. The 
result was no sickness, little fatigue, and constant good 
spirits. My goods consisted of my own personal effects, 
all on one donkey ; my medicine-chest, &c., on another; 
and fifteen men-loads of beads, wire, and cloth, for making 
friends with the natives and purchasing provisions, and 
three loads of ammunition. I was lucky in the time of 
my start, for Mirambo, " the terror of Africa," who had 
been scouring the centre of the continent for the past 
year, had just concluded peace with the Arabs his enemies, 



38 Under the Punkah. 

and had moreover ordered every one also to keep the 
peace. The result to me was, that each village was 
as harmless as the next. 

Gaily enough, then, we strolled along, enjoying occa- 
sionally excellent sport, and wondering as we went where 
all the " horrors " and perils of African travel had gone. 
We had, it is true, our experience of them afterwards, 
but the ground has now become so stale, that I will pass 
over the interval of our journey from Zanzibar to Ujiji and 
thence to the river, and ask you to imagine us setting out 
for the forests that lie about the sources of the Living- 
stone in the district of Uregga, the Soko's home. 

Nearly every traveller before me had spoken of the 
" Soko," the man-beast of these primeval forests. Living- 
stone had a large store of legends and anecdotes about 
them, their intelligent cruelty and their fierce, though 
frugivorous, habits. Stanley constantly heard them. In 
one place he saw a Soko's platform in a tree, and in 
several villages found the skin, the teeth, and the skulls 
in possession of the people. 

Wherever we went I was eager in my inquiries, but 
day after day slipped by, and still I neither heard the 
Soko alive nor saw any portion of one dead. But even 
without encountering the great simia, our journey in 
these night-shade forests was sufficiently eventful, for great 
panther-like creatures, very pale-skinned, prowled about 
in the glimmering shades, and from the trees we some- 
times saw hanging pythons of tremendous girth. But the 



TJte Hunting of the Soko. 39 

reptile and insect world was chiefly in the ascendant here, 
and it was against such small persecutors as puff-adders, 
centipedes, poisonous spiders, and ants, that we had to 
guard ourselves. Travelling, however, owing to the 
dense shade, was not the misery that we had found it in 
the sun-smitten plains of Uturu, or the hideous ocean 
of scrub-jungle that stretches from Suna to Mgongo- 
Zembo. The trees, nearly all of three or four species 
of bombax, mvule, and aldrendon, were of stupendous 
size and impossible altitude, but growing so close to- 
gether their crowns were tightly interwoven overhead, and 
sometimes not a hundred yards in a whole day's march 
was open to the sky. Moreover, in the hot -house air under 
this canopy had sprung up with incredible luxuriance every 
species of tree-fern, rattan and creeping palm known, I 
should think, to the tropics, and amongst themselves in 
a stratum, often thirty feet below the upper roof of tree- 
foliage, had closely intermeshed their fronds and tendrils, 
so that we marched often in an oven atmosphere, but 
protected alike from the killing sun and flooding rain 
by double awnings of impenetrable leafage. The ground 
itself was bare of vegetation, except where, here and 
there, monster fungi clustered, like a condemned invoice 
of umbrellas and parasols, round some fallen giant of 
the forest, or where, in a screen of blossom, wonderful 
air-plants filled up great spaces from tree trunk to tree 
trunk. 

At intervals we crossed rivulets of crystal water, icy 



4O Under the Punkah. 

cold, finding their way as best they might from hollow 
to hollow over the centuries' layers of fallen leaves, and 
along their courses grew in rich profusion masses of a 
broad-leafed sedge, that afforded the panther safe covert 
and easy couch, and sometimes, on approaching one of 
these rills, we would see a ghostly herd of deer flit away 
through the twilight shade. And thus it happened that 
one evening I was lying on my rug half-asleep, with the 
pleasant deep-sea gloom about me and a deathly still- 
ness reigning over this world of trees, and wondering 
whether that was or was not a monkey perched high 
up among the palm fronds, when out from the sedges 
by a runnel there paced before me a panther of unusual 
size. From his gait I saw that it had a victim in view, 
and turning my head was horrified to see that it was 
one of my own men, who was busy about something at 
the foot of a tree. 

I jumped up with a shout, and the panther, startled 
by the sudden sound, plunged back in three great leaps 
into the sedges from which it had emerged. All my 
men jumped to their feet, and one of them, in his terror 
at the proximity of the beast of prey, turned and fled 
away into the depth of the forest. I watched his re- 
treating figure as far as the eye could follow it in that 
light, and laughing at his panic, went over to where my 
ass was tied, intending to stroll down for a shot at the 
panther. And while I was idly getting ready, the sound 
of excited conversation among my men attracted me, 



The Hunting of the Soko. 41 

and I asked them what was the matter. There was a 
laugh, and then one of them, the most sensible, English- 
minded African I ever met, stepped forward. 

" We do not know, master," said he, " which of us it 
was that ran away just now. We are all here" 

The full significance of his words did not strike me at 
first, and I laughed too. " Oh, count yourselves," I said, 
" and you will soon find out." 

"But we have counted, master," replied the man, "and 
all eighteen are here." 

His meaning began to dawn on me. I felt a queer 
feeling creep over me. 

" All here !" I ejaculated. " Muster the men." 

And mustered they were and to my astonishment, 
and even horror, I found the man was speaking the truth. 
Every man of my force was in his place. 

Then who was the man that had run away, when all 
the party started up from their sleep ? A ghost ? I 
looked round into the deepening gloom. All my men 
were standing together, looking rather frightened. Around 
us stretched the eternal forest. A ghost ! And then on 
a sudden the thought flashed across me I had seen the 
Soko. 

I had seen the Soko ! and seeing it, had mistaken 
it for a human being ! And while I was still loading my 
cartridge-belt, Shumari, my gun-boy, had crept up to 
my side, with my express in one hand and heavy elephant 
rifle in the other ; but on his face there was a strange, 



42 Under the Punkah. 

concerned expression, and in the tone of his voice an un- 
easy tremor, with which something in my own feelings 
sympathized. 

" Is the master going to hunt the wild man ? " asked 
the lad. 

" The Soko ? Yes, I want its skin," I replied. 

"But the wild man cried out, l Ai ! ma-ma' ('Oh! 
mother, mother ') as it ran away and " 

" Here is the wild man's stick," broke in Mabruki, 
the Zanzibari, and as he spoke he held out to- 
wards me a long staff, seven feet in length. All the 
blood in my body ran cold at the sight of it. It was a 
mere length of rattan, without ferule or knot, but at the 
upper end the bark had been torn down from joint to 
joint in parallel strips, to give the holder a firmer grip than 
one could have had on smooth cane, and just below the 
second joint the stumps of the corresponding shoots on 
two sides had been left sticking out for the hand to 
rest on. 

How can I describe the throng of hideous thoughts 
that whirled through my brain on the instant that I re- 
cognized these efforts of reason in the animal that I was 
now going to hunt to the death ? But swift as were my 
thoughts, Mabruki had thought them out before me, and 
had come to a conclusion. " The mshenshi mtato 
pagan ape has stolen this stick from some village," said 
he ; " see," and he pointed to the smoothed offshoots, 
" they have stained them with the mvule juice." 



TJte Hunting of the Soko. 43 

The instant relief I felt at this happy solution of the 
dreadful mystery was expressed by me in a shout of joy, 
so sudden and so real that, without knowing why, my 
men shouted too, and with such a will that the monkeys 
that had been gravely pondering over our preparations 
for the evening meal were startled out of their self-respect 
and off their perches, and plunged precipitately into a 
tangle of lianes. My spirits had returned, and with as 
light a heart as ever I had, I ambled off in the direction 
the Soko had taken. 

But soon the voices of the camp had died away be- 
hind me, and there had grown up between me and it the 
wall of mist that in this sunless forest region makes every 
mile as secret from the next as if you were in the highest 
ether surely the most secret of all places or in the 
lowest sea. And over the soft, rich vegetable mould 
the ass's feet went noiseless as an owl's wing upon the 
air ; and, except for the rhythmical jingling of his ass's 
harness, Shumari's presence might never have been sus- 
pected. And then, in this cathedral solitude with 
cloistered tree-trunks reaching away at every point of 
view into long vistas closed in grey mist; overhead 
hanging, like tattered tapestry, great lengths and rags of 
moss -growths, strange textures of fungus and parasite,' 
hanging plumb down in endless points, all as motionless 
as possible ; without a breath of life stirring about me 
bird, beast, or insect the same horrid thoughts took 
possession of me again, and I began to recall the 



44 Under the Punka] i, 

gestures of the wild thing which, when I startled the 
panther, had fled away into the forest depths. 

It had stood upright amongst the upright men, and 
turning to run had stooped, but only so much as a man 
might do when running with all his speed. In the gait 
there was a one-sided swing, just as some great man-ape 
gorilla or chimpanzee might have when, as travellers 
tell us, they help themselves along on the knuckles of 
the long fore-arm, the body swaying down to the side 
on which the hand touches the ground at each stride. 
In one hand was a small branch of some leafy shrub, for 
I distinctly remembered having seen it as it began to run. 
The speed must have been great, for it was very soon 
out of sight ; but there was no appearance of rapidity in 
the movement like the wolf's slow-looking gallop, that 
no horse can overtake, and that soon tires out the fleetest 
hound. As it began to run it had made a jabbering 
sound an inarticulate expression of simple human fear 
I had thought it to be ; but now, pondering over it, I 
began to wonder that I could have mistaken that swiftly 
retreating figure for human. 

It is true that I did not want to think of it as human, 
and perhaps my wishes may have coloured my retro- 
spect ; at any rate, whatever the process, I found myself 
after a while laughing at myself for having turned sick 
at heart when the suspicion came across me that perhaps 
the Soko of the forests of Uregga, the feast-day dish of 
the jungle tribes, might be a human being. The long, 



The Hunting of the Soko. 45 

lolloping gait, the jabbering, should alone have dispelled 
the terror. It is true that my men heard it say, '' Oh ! 
ma-ma" as it started up to run by them. But in half the 
languages of the world, " mama" is a synonym for 
" mother," and it follows, therefore, that it is not a word 
at all, but simply the phonetic rendering of the first 
bleating, babbling articulation of babyhood an animal 
noise, uttered as articulately by young sheep and young 
goats as by young men and women. The staff, too, was 
of the common type in these districts, and had been picked 
up no doubt by the Soko in some twilight prowling round a 
grain store, or perhaps gained in fair fight from some 
villager whom it had surprised, solitary and defenceless. 
And then my thoughts ran on to all I had read or heard 
of the Soko, of its societies for mutual defence or food 
supply, and the comparative amiability of such com- 
munities of the solitary, outlawed Soko, the vindictive, 
lawless bandit of the trees, who wanders about round 
the habitations of men, lying in wait for the women and 
the children, robbing the granaries and orchards, and 
stealing, for the simple larceny's sake, household chattels, 
of the use of which it is ignorant. Shumari, a hunter 
born and bred, was full of Soko lore : the skin, he said, 
was covered except on the throat, hands, and feet, with 
a short, harsh hair of a dark colour, and tipped, in the 
older individuals, with grey ; these also had long growths 
of hair on the head, their cheeks and lips. It had no 
tail. 



4.6 Under the PunkaJi. 

" Standing up," said he, " it is as tall as I am (he was 
only 5 feet i inch), and its eyes are together in the front 
of its face, so that it looks at you straight. It eats sitting up, 
and when tired leans its back against a tree, putting its 
hands behind its head. Three men of my village came 
upon one asleep in this way one day, and so quietly, that 
before it awoke two of them had speared it. It started 
up and threw back its head to give a loud cry of pain, 
and then leaning its elbow against the tree, it bent its 
head down upon its arms, and so died leaning against 
the tree, with one arm supporting the head and the 
other pressed to its heart. There was a Soko village 
there, for they saw all their platforms in the trees, and 
the ground was heaped up in places with snail shells 
and fruit skins. But they did not see any more Sokos. 

* * * * Another day I myself was out hunting with a 
party, and we found a dead Soko. I had thrown my 
spear at a tree- cat, and going to pick it up, saw close 
by a large heap of myombo leaves. I turned some up 
with my spear, and found a dead Soko underneath. 

* * * * When a Soko catches a man it holds him, 
and makes faces at him, and jabbers : sometimes it lets 
him go without doing him any harm, but generally it 
bites off all his fingers one by one, spitting them out 
as it bites them off, and his nose and ears and toes as 
well, and ends up by strangling him with its fingers 
or beating him to death with a branch. Women and 
children are never seen again, so I suppose the Sokos 



The Hunting of tJie Soko, 47 

eat them. They have no spears or knives, and they 
do not use anything that men use, except that they 
walk with sticks, knocking down fruit with them, and 
that they drink water out of their hands. Their front 
teeth are very sharp, and at each side is one longer 
and sharper than the rest." 

And so he went on chattering to me as we ambled 
through the dim shade in a stupid pursuit of an in- 
visible thing. The stupidity of it dawned upon me at 
last, and I stopped, and without explaining the change 
to my companion, turned and rode homewards. 

The twilight shadows of the day were now deepening 
into night, and we hurried on. The fireflies began to 
flicker along the sedge-grown rills, and high up, among 
the leaf coronets of the elais palm, were clustering in a 
mazy dance. Passing a tangle of lianes, I heard an owl 
or some night bird hoot gently from the foliage, and as 
we went along the fowl seemed to keep pace with us, 
for the ventriloquist sound was always with us, fast 
though we rode, and first from one side and then from 
the other we heard the low-voiced complaining follow- 
ing. And the "eeriness" of the company grew upon 
me. There was no sound of wings or rustling of leaves ; 
but for mile after mile the low hoot, hoot, of the thing 
that was following sounded so close at hand that I 
kept on looking round. Shumari, like all savages they 
approach animals very nearly in this was intensely sus- 
ceptible to the superstitious and uncanny, and long 



48 Under the Punkali. 

before the ghostliness of the persistent voice occurred 
to me, I had noticed that Shumari was keeping as close 
to me as possible. But at last, whether it was from con- 
stantly turning my head over my shoulder to see what 
was coming after us, or whether I was unconsciously 
infected by his nervousness, I got as fidgety as he, and, 
for the sake of human company, opened conversation. 

" What bird makes that noise ? " I asked. 

Shumari did not reply, and I repeated the question. 

And then in a voice, so absurd from its assumption of 
boldness that I laughed outright, he said, 

" No bird, master. It is a muzimu (spirit) that is 
following us. Let us go quicker." 

Here was a position ! We had all the evening been 
hunting nothing, and now we' were being hunted by 
nothing ! The memory of Shumari's voice made me 
laugh again, and just then catching sight of the twink- 
ling camp fires in the far distance, I laughed at myself 
too. And, on a sudden, just as my laugh ceased, there 
came from the rattan brake past which we were riding 
a sound that was, and yet was not, the echo of my laugh. 
It sounded something like my laugh but it was repeated 
twice and the creature I rode, ass though it was, turned 
its head towards the brake. Shumari meanwhile had 
seen the camp fires, and his terror overpowering dis- 
cipline, he gave one howl of horror and fled, his ass, 
seeing the fires too, falling into the humour with all his 
will, and carrying off his rider at full speed. My ass 



The Hunting of the Soko. 49 

wanted to follow, but I pulled him up, and to make 
further trial of the hidden jester, shouted out in Swahili, 
"Who is there?" 

The answer was as sudden as horrifying. For an in- 
stant the brake swayed to and fro, and then there came 
a crashing of branches as of some great beast forcing his 
way through them, and on a sudden, close behind me 
burst out the Soko ! 

Shumari had carried off my guns, and, except for the 
short knife in my belt, I was defenceless. And there 
before me in the flesh stood the creature I had gone out 
to hunt, but which for ever so many miles must have 
been hunting us. I had no leisure for moralizing or 
even for examination of the creature before me. It 
seemed about Shumari's height, but was immensely 
broad at the shoulders, and in one hand it carried a 
fragment of a bough. Had it been simply man against 
man, I would have stood my ground but was it ? The 
dim light prevented my noting any details, and I had 
no inclination or time to scrutinize the features of the 
thing that now approached me. I saw the white teeth 
flashing, heard a deep-chested stuttering, inarticulate 
with rage, and flinging myself from the ass, which was 
trembling and rooted to the spot with fear, I ran as I 
had never run before in the direction of the camp. 

The Soko must have stopped to attack the ass, for 
I heard a scuffle behind me as I started, but very soon 
the ass came tearing past me, and looking round I saw 

E 



50 Under the PunkaJi. 

the Soko in pursuit. The heavy branch fortunately en- 
cumbered its progress, but it gained upon me. Close 
behind me I heard the thing jabbering and panting, and 
for an instant thought of standing at bay. I was run- 
ning my hardest, but it seemed, just as in a nightmare, 
as if horror had partly paralyzed my limbs, and I were 
only creeping along. The horror of such pursuit was, 
I felt, culminating in sickness, and I thought I should 
swoon and fall. But just then I became aware of ap- 
proaching lights the camp fires seemed to be running 
to me. The Soko, however, was fast overtaking me, 
and I struggled on, but it was of no use, and my feet 
tripping against the projecting root of an old mvule, I 
fell on my knees ; but, rising again, I staggered against 
the tree, drew my knife, and waited for the attack. In 
an instant the Soko was up with me, and, dropping its 
bough, reached out its arms to seize me. I lunged at it 
with my knife, but the length of its arms baffled me, for 
before the point of my knife could find its body, the 
Soko's hands had grasped my shoulders, and with such 
astonishing force that it seemed as if my arms were being 
displaced in their sockets. The next moment a third 
hand seized hold of my leg below the knee, and I was in- 
stantly jerked on to the ground. The fall partially 
stunned me, and then I felt a rough-haired body fall 
heavily upon me, and, groping their way to my throat, 
long fingers feeling about me. I struggled with the 
creature, but against its strength my hands were nerveless. 



The Hunting of the Soko. 5 1 

The fingers had now found my throat ; I felt the grasp 
tightening, and gave myself up to death. But on a 
sudden there was a confusion of voices a flashing of 
bright lights before my eyes and the weight was all at 
once raised from off me. In another minute I had 
recovered my consciousness, and found that my men, 
the gallant Mabruki at their head, had charged to my 
rescue with burning brands, and arrived only just in time 
to save my life. 

And the Soko ? 

As I lay there, my faithful followers round me with 
their brands still flickering, the voice of the Soko came 
to us, but from which direction it was impossible to say, 
soft and mysterious as before, the same hoot, hoot, that 
had puzzled us so on our homeward route. 

My narrow escape from a horrible, though somewhat 
absurd, death, was celebrated by my men with extrava- 
gant demonstrations of indignation against the Soko that 
had hunted me, and many respectful reproaches for my 
temerity. For myself, I was more eager than ever to 
capture or kill the formidable thing that had outwitted 
and outmatched me ; and so having had my arms well 
rubbed with oil, I gave the order for a general muster 
next morning for a grand Soko hunt. 

Now, close by our camp grew a great tree, from which 

hung down liane strands of every rope-thickness, and all 

round its roots had grown up a dense hedge of strong- 

spined cane. One of my men, sent up the tree to cut us 

E 2 



52 Under the Punkah. 

off some of these natural ropes, reported that all round 
the tree, that is, between its trunk and the cane-hedge, 
there was a clear space, so that though, looking at it 
from the outside, it seemed as if the canes grew right up 
to the tree trunk, looking at it from above, there was 
seen to be really an open pathway, so to speak, sur- 
rounding the tree, broad enough for three men to walk 
abreast. I had often heard of similar cases of vegetable 
aversions, where, from some secret cause of plant preju- 
dice, two shrubs, though growing together, exercise this 
mutual repulsion, and never actually combine in growth. 
Meanwhile, however, the phenomenon was interesting to 
me for other reasons, for I saw at once what a convenient 
receptacle this natural " well " would make for the 
baggage we had to leave behind. 

Leaving our effects therefore inside this brake, which 
we did by slinging the bales one after the other over 
an overhanging bough, and so dropping them into the 
open pathway, and removing from the neighbourhood 
every trace of our recent encampment, we started west- 
ward with four days' provisions ready cooked on our 
backs. The method of march was in line, each man about 
a hundred yards from the next, and every second man 
on an ass, the riders carrying the usual ivory horns, with- 
out which no travellers in the Uregga forests ever move 
from home, and the notes of which, exactly like the 
cry of the American wood-marmot, keep the party in line. 
By this means we covered a mile, and being unencum- 



The Hunting of the Soko. 5 3 

bered, marched fast, scouring the wood before us at the 
rate of four miles an hour for three hours. 

And what a wild, weird time it was those three hours, 
marching with noiseless footfalls, looking constantly right 
and left and overhead. I could see the line of shadowy 
figures advancing on either side, not a sound along the 
whole line, except when the horns carried down in 
response to one another their thin, wailing notes, or when 
some palm fruit over-ripe dropped rustling down through 
the canopy of foliage above us. And yet the whole forest 
was instinct with life. If you set yourself to listen, there 
came to your ears, all day and night, a great monotone of 
sound humming through the misty shade, the aggregate 
voices of millions of insect things, that had their being 
among the foliage or in the daylight that reigned in the 
outer world above those green clouds which made per- 
petual twilight for us who were passing underneath. 
Along the tree roof streamed also troops of monkeys, 
and flocks of parrots and other birds ; but in their pas- 
sage overhead, we could not, through the dense vault of 
foliage, branch, and blossom, hear their voices, except as 
merged in the one great sound that filled all space, too 
large almost to be heard at all. In the midst, then, of 
this vast murmur of confused nature, we seemed to walk 
in absolute silence. The ear had grown so accustomed 
to it, that a sneeze was heard with a start, and the occa- 
sional knocking together of asses' hoofs made every head 
turn suddenly, and every rifle move to the shoulder. 



54 Under the Punkah. 

At the end of the three hours' marching, we came to 
a river perhaps that which Stanley, in his " Dark Con- 
tinent," names the Asna flowing north-west, with a width 
here of only 100 yards a deep, slow stream, crystal clear, 
flowing without a ripple or a murmur through the per- 
petual gloaming, between banks of soft, rich, black leaf- 
mould. We halted, and, after a rapid meal, re-formed in 
line, and marching for two miles easterly up the river, 
made a left wheel ; and in the same order, and at the same 
pace as we had advanced, we continued nearly two hours 
rather in a northerly direction ; and then making a left 
wheel again, started off due west, crossing the tracks of 
our morning's march in our fourth mile, and reaching the 
Asna again in our tenth mile a total march of nearly 
thirty- two miles, of which, of course, each man had tra- 
versed only one half on foot. No cooking was allowed, 
and our collation was therefore soon despatched, and 
before I had lighted my pipe, and curled myself up, I 
saw that all the party were snug under their mosquito 
nets. 

I had noticed, when reading travellers' books, that 
they always suffered severely from mosquitos and other 
insects. I determined that / would not ; so, before leav- 
ing Zanzibar, served out to every man twenty yards of 
net. These in the daytime were worn round the head 
as turbans, and at night spread upon sticks, and furnished 
each man a protection against these Macbeths of the sedge 
and brake. The men thoroughly understood their value, 



The Hunting of the Soko. 5 5 

and before turning in for the night, always carefully 
examined their nets for stray holes, which they caught 
together with fibres. But, somehow, I could not go to 
sleep for a long while ; the pain in my arm where the 
Soko seized me was very great at times, besides, I felt 
" haunted ;" and indeed, when I awoke and found it 
already four o'clock, it did not seem that I had been to 
sleep at all. But the time for sleep was now over ; so 
awakening the expedition, we ate a silent meal, and noise- 
lessly remounting, were again on the war trail. On this, 
the second day, we marched some three miles down the 
river, north-west, and then, taking a half right wheel, 
started off north-east, passing to the north of our camp 
at about the eleventh mile. Here the first sign of life 
we had seen since we started broke the tedium of our 
ghost-like progress. 

Between myself and the next man on the line was 
running a little stream, fed probably by the dews that here 
rained down upon us from the invule-trees. These^more 
than all others, seem to condense the heated upper air, 
their leaves being thick in texture and curiously cool for 
which reason the natives prefer them for butter- and oil- 
dishes and along the stream, as usual, crowded a thick 
fringe of white-starred sedge. On a sudden, there was 
a swaying of the herbage, and out bounced a splendidly 
spotted creature of the cat kind. Immediately behind 
him crept out his mate ; and there they stood the male, 
his crest and all the hair along the spine erect with 



56 Under the Punkah. 

anger at our intrusion, his tail swinging and curling with 
excitement ; beside him, and half behind him, the female 
crouching low on the ground, her ears laid back along 
the head, and motionless as a carved stone. My ass 
saw the pair, and instinct warning it that the beautiful 
beasts were dangerous to it, with that want of judgment 
and consideration so characteristic of asses, it must needs 
bray. And such a bray ! At every hee it pumped up 
enough air from its lungs to have contented an organ, 
and at every haw it vented a shattering blast, to which 
all the Slogans of all the Clans were mere puling. 
It brayed its very soul out in the suddenness of the 
terror. The effect on the leopards was instant and 
complete. There was just one lightning flash of colour 
a yellow streak across the space before me, and plump ! 
the splendid pair soused into a murderous tangle of 
creeping palms. That they could ever have got out of 
the awful trap, with its millions of strong spines, barbed 
like fish-hooks, and as strong as steel, is probably impos- 
sible; but the magnificent promptitude of the suicide, 
its picturesque completeness, was undeniable. 

The ass, however, was by no means soothed by the 
meteor-like disappearance of the beasts of prey, and the 
gruesome dronings, that in spite of hard whacks, it in- 
dulged in for many minutes, betrayed the depth of its 
emotions and the cavernous nature of its interior organiza- 
tion. The ass, like the savage, has no perception of the 
picturesque. 



The Hunting of the Soko. 57 

After the morning meal I allowed a three hours' rest, 
and in knots of twos and threes along the line, the party 
sat down, talking in subdued tones (for silence was the 
order of the march), or comfortably snoozing. I slept 
myself as well as my aching arm would let me. The 
march resumed, I wheeled the line with its front due west, 
and after another two hours' rapid advance we found our- 
selves again at the river, some seven miles farther down 
its course than the point from which we had started in 
the morning ; and after a hurried meal, I gave the order 
for " home." Striking south-easterly, we crossed in our 
fifth mile the track of the morning, and in the thirteenth 
reached our camp. By this means it will be seen we had 
effectually triangulated a third of a circle of eleven miles 
radius from our camp and with absolutely no result. 
During the next two days I determined to scour, if pos- 
sible, the remaining semicircle. Meanwhile, we were at 
the point we had started from, and though it was nearly 
certain that at any rate one Soko was in the neighbour- 
hood, we had fatigued ourselves with nearly seventy 
miles of marching, without finding a trace of it. 

As nothing was required from our concealed store, we 
had only to eat and go to sleep ; and so the men, after 
laughing together for a while over the snug arrangements I 
had made for the safety of our goods, and pretending to 
have doubts as to this being the real site of the hidden 
property of the expedition, were soon asleep in a batch. 
I went to sleep too ; not a sound sleep, for I could not 



58 Under the Punkah. 

drive from my memory the hideous recollection of that 
evening, only two days before, when, nearly in the same 
spot, I was lying in the Soko's power. And thinking 
about it, I got so restless that, under the irresistible im- 
pression that some supernatural presence was about me, 
I unpegged my mosquito net, and getting up, began to 
pace about. I wore at nights a long Cashmere dressing- 
gown, in lieu of the tighter canvas coat. I had been 
leaning against a tree ; but feeling that the moisture that 
trickled down the trunk was soaking my back, I was mov- 
ing off, when my ears were nearly split by a shout from 
behind me "Soko! Soko!"and the next instant I found 
myself flung violently to the ground, and struggling with 
Mabruki ! The pain caused by the sudden fall at first 
made me furious at the mistake that had been made ; but 
the next instant, when the whole absurdity of the position 
came upon me, I roared with laughter. 

The savage is very quickly infected by mirth, and in a 
minute, as soon as the story got round how Mabruki had 
jumped upon "the master" for a Soko, the whole camp 
was in fits of laughter. Sleep was out of the question 
with my aching back and aching sides ; and so, mixing 
myself some grog and lighting my pipe, I made Mabruki 
shampoo my limbs with oil. While he did so he began 
to talk, 

"Does the master ever see devils ? " 

" Devils ? No." 

" Mabruki does, and all the Wanyamwazi of his village 



The Hunting of the Soko. 59 

do, for his village elders are the keepers of the charm 
against evil spirits of the whole land of Unyamwazi, 
and they often see them. I saw a devil to-night." 

" Was the devil like a Soko ? " I asked, laughing. 

" Yes, master," he replied, " like a Soko ; but I was 
always asleep, and never saw it, but whenever it came to 
me it said, 'I am here,' and then at last I got frightened 
and got up, and then I saw you master and " 

But we were both laughing again, and Mabruki 
stopped. 

It was strange that he, too, should have felt the same 
uncanny presence that had afflicted me. But, under 
Mabruki's manipulation, I soon fell asleep. I awoke 
with a start. Mabruki had gone. But much the same 
inexplicable, restless feeling that men say they have felt 
under ghostly visitations, impelled me to get up, and this 
time, lighting a pipe to prevent mistakes, I resumed my 
sauntering, and tired at last of being alone, I awoke my 
men for the start, although day was not yet breaking. 
Half-asleep a meal was soon discussed, and in an hour 
we were again on the move. Shumari had lagged behind, 
as usual, and on his coming up I reproved him for 
being "the last." 

" I am not the last," he said ; "Zaidi, the Wangwana, 
is not here yet. I saw him climbing up for a liane" 
(the men got their ropes from these useful plants) " just as 
I was coming away, and I called out to him that you 
would be angry." 



60 Under the Punkah. 

" Peace ! " said Baraka, the man next to me ; " is not 
that Zaidi the Wangwana there, riding on the ass ? It 
was not he. It was that good for nothing Tarya. He is 
always the last to stand up and the first to sit down." 

" No doubt, then," said Shumari, " it was Tarya ; shame 
on him. He is no bigger than Zaidi, and has hair like 
his. Besides, it was in the mist I saw him." 

But I had heard enough the nervousness of the night 
still afflicted me. 

" Sound the halt ! " I cried ; " call the men together." 

In three minutes all were grouped round me not one 
was missing ! Tarya was far ahead, riding on an ass, and 
had therefore been one of the first to start. 

" Who was the last to leave camp ? " I asked, and by 
the unanimous voice it was agreed to be Shumari himself. 

Shumari, then, had seen the Soko ! and our store-house 
was the Soko's home ! 

The rest of the men had not heard the preceding 
conversation, so putting them in possession of the facts, 
I gave the order for returning to our camp. We 
approached. I halted the whole party, and binding up 
the asses' mouths with cloths, we tied them to a stout 
liane, and then dividing the party into two, led one 
myself round to the south side of the camp by a 
detour, leaving the other about half a mile to the 
north of it, with orders to rush towards the cane brake 
and surround it at a hundred yards' distance as soon as 
they heard my bugle. Passing swiftly round, we were 



The Hunting of the Soko. 61 

soon in our places, and then deploying my men on either 
side so as to cover a semi-circle, I sounded the bugle. 
The response came on the instant, and in a few minutes 
there was a cordon round the brake at 100 yards radius, 
each man about twenty yards or so from the next. 
But all was silent as the grave. As yet nothing had got 
through our line I felt sure ; and if therefore Shumari 
had indeed seen the Soko, the Soko was still within the 
circle of our guns. A few tufts of young rattan grew be- 
tween the line and the brake in the centre of which 
were our goods, and unless it was up above us, hidden in 
the impervious canopy overhead, where was the Soko ? 
A shot was fired into each tuft, and in breathless excite- 
ment the circle began to close in upon the brake. 

" Let us fire ! " cried Mabruki. 

" No, no ! " I shouted, for the bullets would perhaps 
have whistled through the lianes amongst ourselves. 
" Catch the Soko alive if you can." 

But first we had to sight the Soko, and this, in an 
absolutely impenetrable clump of rope-thick creepers, was 
impossible, except from above. 

Shumari, as agile as a monkey, was called, and ordered 
to climb up the tree, the branches of which had served 
us to sling our goods into the brake, and to see if he 
could espy the intruder. The lad did not like the job; 
but with the pluck of his race obeyed, and was soon 
slung up over the bough, and creeping along it, overhung 
the centre of the brake. All faces were upturned towards 



62 Under the Punkah. 

him as he peered down within the wall of vegetation. 
For many minutes there was silence, and then came 
Shumari's voice, 

" No, master, I cannot see the Soko." 

" Climb onto the big liane," called out Mabruki. The 
lad obeyed, and made his way from knot to knot of the 
swinging strand. One end of it was rooted into the 
ground at the foot of the tree inside the cane brake, 
the other, in cable thickness, hanging down loose within 
the circle. We, watching, saw him look down, and on 
the instant heard him cry, 

" Ai ! ma-ma ! the Soko, the Soko ! " and while the lad 
spoke we saw the hanging creeper violently jerked, and 
then swung to and fro, as if some creature of huge strength 
had hold of the loose end of it and was trying to shake 
Shumari from his hold. 

" Help ! help, master ! " cried Shumari. " I am falling;" 
and then he lost his hold, and fell with a crash down into 
the brake, and for an instant we held our breath to listen 
but all was quiet as death. The next instant, at a dozen 
different points, axes were at work clearing the lianes. 
For a few minutes nothing was to be heard but the deep 
breathing of the straining men and the crashing of the 
branches ; and then on a sudden, at the side farthest from 
me, came a shout and a shot, a confused rush of frantic 
animal noises, and the sounds of a fierce struggle. 

In an instant I was round the brake, and there lay 
Shumari, apparently unhurt, and the Soko dying ! 



The Hunting of the Soko. 63 

" Untie his hands," I said. This was done, and the 
wounded thing made an effort to stagger to its feet. 

A dozen arms thrust it to the ground again. " Let 
him rise," I said; "help him to rise," and Mabruki 
helped the Soko on to its feet. 

Powers above ! If this were an ape, what else were half 
my expedition? The wounded wood-thing passed its 
right arm round Mabruki's neck, and taking one of his 
hands, pressed it to its own heart. A deep sob shook 
its frame, and then it lifted back its head and looked in 
turn into all the faces round it, with the death glaze set- 
tling fast in its eyes. I came nearer, and took its hand 
as it hung on Mabruki's shoulder. The muscles, gradually 
contracting in death, made it seem as if there was a gentle 
pressure of my palm, and then the thing died. 

Life left it so suddenly that we could not believe that 
all was over. But the Soko was really dead, and close 
to where he lay I had him buried. 

" Master said he wanted the Soko's skin," said Shumari, 
in a weak voice, reminding me of my words of a few days 
before. 

" No, no," I said ; " bury the wild man quickly. We 
shall march at once." 



THE LEGEND OF THE BLAMELESS PRIEST. 1 




EARS upon years ago, when all the world was 
young, when Atlantis was among the chief 
islands of it, and the Aryans had not yet de- 
scended from their cradle 'on the Roof of the World, 
there wandered up past the sources of the sleepy 
Nile the patriarch Kintu, and his wife. For many 
months he travelled, he and his old wife, their one 
she-goat, and one cow, and carrying with them one 
banana and one sweet potato. And they were alone in 
their journey. 

From out the leagues of papyrus fen the ibis and the 
flamingo screamed, and through the matete-canes the 
startled crocodile plunged under the lily-covered waves. 
Overhead circled and piped vast flocks of strange water- 
fowl, puzzled by the sight of human beings, and from the 
path before them the sulky lion hardly turned away. 

1 In this legend I make only a partial claim to originality, for it 
is founded upon the notes taken in Uganda by Mr. H. M. Stanley, 
and will be found already partially worked out in that traveller's 
"Across the Dark Continent," which it fell to my pleasant lot to 
edit. 



The Legend of the Blameless Priest. 65 

The hyaehas in the rattan brakes snarled to see them 
pass, and, wailing through the forests that covered the 
face of the land, came the cry of the lonely lemur. A 
dreary, desolate country, rich in flowers and fruit, and 
surpassingly beautiful, but desolate of man. 

The elephant was the noblest in the land, and on 
the water there was none to stand before the river- 
horse. 

And so they plodded on, old Kintu and his wife, until 
coming to where the Victoria Nyanza spreads its summer 
sea through four degrees of latitude, flecked with float- 
ing groves, " purple isles of Eden," the patriarch halted, 
and, the first time for many years, laid down his staff 
upon the ground. And the mark of the staff may still 
be seen, eight cubits in length, lying like a deep scar 
across the basalt boulders piled up on the western shore 
of the great lake. And then his wife laid down her 
burden, the one banana and the one potato, and the 
goat and the cow lay down, for they were all weary with 
the journey of half a century, during which they had 
never rested night nor day. And the name they gave 
the land they stayed at was Uganda, but the name of 
the land they came from no one knows. 

And then Kintu cut the banana and potato into many 
little pieces, and planted them, each piece twenty miles 
apart, and they grew so fast that the plants seemed to the 
eye to be crawling over the ground. And his wife had many 
sons and daughters, and they were all born adult, and inter- 



66 Under the Punkah. 

married, so that in a few years all the country was filled 
with people. The cow and the goat also brought forth 
adult offspring, and these multiplied so fast that in the 
second generation every man in the land had a thousand 
head of cattle. And Kintu was their king, and his people 
called him " The Blameless Priest ; " for he wronged no 
one. In his land no blood was ever shed, for he had 
forbidden his people to eat meat, and when any sinned 
they were led away by their friends, the man with a 
woman, for a thousand miles, and left there with cuttings 
of the banana and the potato ; for they never led any 
one away alone, lest he should die ; and once every year, 
after the gathering of the harvest, Kintu sent messengers 
to the exiles to know how they did. So the land was at 
peace from morning to night, and there was plenty in every 
house. And the patriarch moved about among his people 
in spotless robes of white, and loved and honoured by all 
as their father. 

But after a long time the young men and women grew 
wicked, for they found out the secret of making wine 
from the banana and strong drink from the palm fruit 
and fire-water from the mtama grain ; and with this they 
got drunk together, and when they were drunk they 
forgot that they were Kintu's children. And first of 
all they began to dress in bright colours, and then they 
killed the cattle for food, until at last Kintu was the only 
man in all his kingdom who was dresed in spotless white, 
and who had never shed blood. And the wickedness 



The Legend of the Blameless Priest. 67 

increased ; for having killed animals they began to fight 
among themselves, and at last one day a man of Uganda, 
having got drunk with palm wine, killed one of his 
tribe with a spear. And the people rose up with a 
cry, and every man took his spear in his hand, and 
the whole land of Uganda was in an uproar, the people 
killing one another. But when it was all over, and the 
morning came, they saw the dead men lying about 
among the melon plants, and were frightened, for they 
had never seen dead men before, and did not know 
what to do with them ; and then they looked about for 
the patriarch, whom all this while they had forgotten ; 
and lo ! he was gone. 

And no one would tell them whither. 

Till at last a little girl child spoke up : "I saw Kintu 
and his wife go out of the gate in the early morning, and 
with them they took a cow and a goat, a banana and a 
potato ; and Kintu said, ' This land isblack with blood.' 
I ran after them, and with me was only my little 
brother Pokino, and he and I watched Kintu and his 
wife go away down by the wood to the river that comes 
from the west." 

The children had been the last to see Kintu; for 
though every one was asked, no one had seen the 
Blameless Priest go forth except the little ones, Saramba, 
with the round eyes, and her baby brother Pokino. 

Then the people were in great consternation, and ran 
hither and thither, looking for the patriarch ; but he was 
F 2 



68 Under the Punkah. 

never found. And when the tumult of the first lamenta- 
tion was over, Chwa, the eldest son of Kintu, took his 
shield and spear, and going out into the market-place, 
shook his spear before the assembled chiefs, and struck 
his spear upon his shield to show that he was king. And 
he made all the nation into castes, and to two castes he 
gave the duty of finding Kintu. Far and near- they 
sought him, crossing strange rivers and subduing many 
tribes; but the lost patriarch was never seen. And 
when Chwa was dead, his son shook his spear before 
the people, and searched for Kintu all his life, and died 
without finding him. And thirty-eight kings ruled in 
succession over Uganda, but never again did human eye 
behold the man they sought. 

****** 

Then Ma'anda came to the throne. He was different 
from all the kings that had preceded him, for he robed 
himself in white, and no blood might be shed within a 
mile's distance of his palace, and no man who had killed 
an animal might come within a spear's throw of his per- 
son. He was kind to all, to animals and to men alike, 
and they called him in Uganda " the good father." He 
had given up the search for Kintu, for he knew it was 
hopeless ; but once a year he called all the chiefs to- 
gether, and warned them that until they gave up fighting 
among themselves and warring with other tribes, they 
could never hope to see the Blameless Priest again. 

Now, one day Ma'anda dreamed strangely, and rising 



The Legend of the Blameless Priest. 69 

before dawn, went to his mother and said : " I dreamt 
in the night that a peasant came to* me from the forest 
and told me something that filled me with joy, but what 
it was I cannot remember." 

She asked, " When did the peasant come ? " 

He answered, " Just as the hyaena was crying for the 
third time." 

She said, " But that is not yet." 

And lo ! as she spoke, from the mtama crop the hyaena 
cried for the third time for the day was breaking and 
Ma'anda's mother said, "Get ready quickly, and take your 
spear, for I can hear the peasant coming, and he has 
strange news to tell you, my son." Ma'anda could hear 
nothing ; yet he went away to get ready to receive the 
messenger. But at the door he met the Katekiro, the 
chief officer of his household, who said, " There is a 
madman without, who says he has news for the king. 
He is only a peasant, but will not go away, for he says 
that the king must hear his news." 

" Let him come in," said the king. And the peasant 
entered. 

" What is it ? " asked Ma'anda. 

" I may not tell any one but the king and the king's 
mother : which are they ? " 

So the king took the peasant into his mother's house, 
and having carefully seen that no one was listening, the 
peasant told his tale. 

" I went last night to cut wood in the forest, and being 



7O Under the Punkah. 

overtaken by the darkness, lay down to sleep by my wood. 
And in my sleep a person came to me and said, ' Follow 
me,' and I took up my bill-hook and went with him. And 
we came to an open space in the forest, and in the open 
space I saw an old man sitting, and beside him. on either 
hand, stood a number of old men, all with spears in their 
hands, and they seemed to have just come from a long 
march. And though it was dark in the forest, it was 
quite light where the old men were ; and the old man 
who was sitting said to me, ' Go to Ma'anda the king 
and tell him to come to me with his mother. But let 
him take care that no one else, not even his dog, follows 
him. For I have that to tell him which will make him 
glad, and that to show him that no king of Uganda has 
yet been able to find.' So I laid down my bill-hook 
and my head-cloth where I was standing, and I turned 
and ran swiftly from fear, and I did not stop till I reached 
the palace. Oh, great king, live for ever." 

" Show the way," replied Ma'anda, "and we will follow." 
So they stole out those three the peasant, the king, 
and his mother and, thinking they were unperceived, 
crept away from the palace through the fence of the 
matete, before the sun rose and the people were up. 
But the Katekiro had watched them, and seeing the 
king go out with only the peasant and his mother, said 
to himself, " There is some treachery here. I will follow 
the king, so that no harm may befall him." 

And they all went fast through the forest together, 



The Legend of the Blameless Priest. 7 1 

and though the king kept turning round to see if any one 
was following, the Katekiro managed to keep always out 
of sight, for the king's eyes were dim with age. And at last 
Ma'anda was satisfied that no one was behind them, and 
hurried on without looking back. And at evening they 
came to the spot, and the peasant was afraid to go on. 
But he pointed before him, and the king looking, saw a 
pale light through the trees, and between the trees he 
thought he saw the figures of men robed in white, 
moving to and fro. And he advanced slowly towards the 
light, and as he got nearer it increased in brightness, 
and then on a sudden he found himself in the glade, 
and there before him sat the old man surrounded by his 
aged warriors, and at his feet lay the wood -cutter's bill- 
hook and head-cloth. Ma'anda stood astonished at 
the sight, and held his spear fast; but a voice came 
to his ears, so gentle and so soft, that his doubts all 
vanished, and he came forward boldly. 

" Who art thou ? " asked the old man. 

" I am Ma'anda, the king." 

" Who was the first king of Uganda ? " 

" Kintu." 

" Then come nearer, for I have something to tell thee 
but why didst thou let any one come with thee except 
the peasant and thy mother ? " 

" No one is with me," replied Ma'anda ; " I kept look- 
ing behind me as I came, and I am sure that no one 
followed us." 



72 Under the Punkah. 

" Well, then, come here and look me in the face. I 
have something to tell thee from Kintu, and thou shalt 
thyself see Kintu to-day ; but first why didst thou let 
any man follow thee ? " 

And Ma'anda, who was impatient, answered quickly, 

" No one followed me." 

"But a man did follow thee," replied the old man, 
" and there he stands ! " pointing with his finger to the 
Katekiro, whose curiosity had drawn him forth from his 
hiding. Seeing himself discovered, he stepped forward 
to the side of the king. 

Then Ma'anda's wrath overwhelmed him, and for the 
first time in his life he raised his hand to strike. And 
his spear pierced the Katekiro to the heart, who fell 
with a cry at his feet. At the horror of his deed and 
his own blood-splashed robe, Ma'anda sprang back, and 
for an instant covered his face with his hands in an 
agony of sorrow. 

And when he opened his eyes again the forest was all 
dark, and the old man and his chiefs had vanished ! 

Nor from that day to this has any one in Uganda 
seen the "Blameless Priest." 





SIGHT-SEEING. 

A QUASI-SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY. 

|O you like railway travelling? It is a question 
upon which the best of friends may disagree 
mortally ; but for myself, here in India, I con- 
fess that I like it when I can travel with a servant who 
understands the cooling of drinks. As the train proceeds 
I feel that I am not idle, however idle I may really be ; for 
after all, what more can I do than sit comfortably bac 
in my seat and be carried along ? That the idleness is 
enforced makes me feel all the more busy, at any rate 
all the less idle, and while I sit doing nothing, I can 
luxuriously affect to deplore the absence of active 
employment. 

One o'clock of the morning " by Madras time," and 
the Mail Train North snorting and fizzing impatiently 
in the Allahabad station. 

But what a gross impostor a train is ! To the inex- 
perienced traveller it seems as if there was hardly time 
to fling into the carriage the more valuable portions of 
your luggage, and to plunge after it yourself, before you 



74 Under the Punkah. 

are whisked off. But the better informed know that the 
engine is only showing off. Go and drink a cup of coffee 
at your leisure at one of the marble tables in the refresh- 
ment-room yonder, and tell your bearer meanwhile to 
make up your bed in the carriage, and when you have 
done all this, you will still find that the engine-driver is 
saying " good-night " that the Mail Train North has 
no intention of starting before the proper time. Every- 
body in this part of India pretends to set great store 
by "Madras time," but no one sets his watch by it. 
It is only an official formula. 

I have many reasons for preferring to travel " first- 
class," for, setting aside all the more obvious advantages 
of doing so, it pleases me to be " salaamed " to by the 
police-constable with the baggy blue trousers, and shoes 
so big that he always has to take them off before he 
can run after a thief. He salaams only to first-class 
passengers. I am neither less nor more than a man, 
and, thereby vindicating .the Ettrick Shepherd, I like 
flattery. It gives me pleasure to be mistaken for a 
Member of Council, or a Railway Director. If such 
could be bought with money, I would lay out a consider- 
able portion of my income in a false appearance, so that 
I might at all times receive the homage of a dignitary 
in the land. I like too, to be thought prosperous, for 
prosperity brings out my finer qualities. I am then 
pleased to condescend, and the poor have a friend in 
me. I set my face against tyranny, and scowl a whole 



Sight-seeing. 75 

Directorate looks out angrily from my eye at the 
constable whom I see misleading a native passenger by 
oracular speech. He catches my eye and mistakes me, 
doubtless, for the Agent of the Railway, whereat I relax 
my frown, and for this one occasion overlook his con- 
duct But he reads it in my eye that he had better not 
let me detect him again in the graceless act of bewilder- 
ing a rustic. 

In prosperity, too, I say my prayers gratefully ; when 
happy, I am found in church on Sundays. But in ad- 
versity, thinking that my " kismet " is adverse, I be- 
come a vagabond. I secrete then no human kindness, 
holding the world to be at odds with me, and myself the 
weaker of the two. I am not chastened by hard times. 
They irritate me to revolt. I can have no patience with 
misfortune. Why should we play the hypocrite and ob- 
sequiously welcome hard times, quoting Seneca to 
make believe we agree with him ? Adversity has, at any 
rate, no " optabilia " for me. 

But at last the long leg of the station clock is close 
upon the short leg, halting at one. The engine-driver 
has drunk the tumbler of farewell to the last drop, and 
has eaten the sugar at the bottom with a spoon ; even 
the fat native has got his ticket, and after many violent 
but ineffectual efforts to get into a horse-box, has been 
thrust into his carriage. The bell-ringer jerks his instru- 
ment as if he really meant it this time ; the bustle sud- 
denly ceases, the whistle sounds, everybody steps back, 



7 6 Under the Punkah. 

and the train this impatient, panting monster, that 
seemed fifteen minutes ago about to run away this 
huge creature which for the last hour has been pawing 
the ground, and fidgetting to be off is no sooner en- 
couraged to proceed than it jibs and backs guard-first 
out of the station ! Yes, it is a fact : the Mail Train 
North has started for Calcutta ; but it soon thinks better 
of it, and with a sudden plunge rushes back past the 
platform. A streak of lamplight and faces, and then 
we are out into the dark night. 

The long lines of black smoke lie parallel on the 
damp night air, and great festoons of vapour float past 
the windows on one side ; from the other, the trees show 
in the moonlight like hill ranges on the horizon and the 
shrubs like bisons. The earth appears of a silver white, 
the colour of a mackerel's stomach, except where the 
water-pools glisten, and the night glimmer reveals the 
stealthy jackals drinking, or where the flooded ditches 
reflect the glare of the passing train. And now a station 
comes sliding along towards us, the train goes more 
slowly forward to meet it, the telegraph-posts pass in 
sober procession, the trees assume a vegetable shape, 
and we are once more among our fellow-beings. 

There is the station-master with a blue paper in his 
hand ; the guard, who before you have gone a hundred 
miles, you will recognize at each station as an old friend ; 
the six natives who were always going to be left behind, 
or who think they are ; the bhistie offering water to those 



Sight-seeing. 77 

who don't want any, but deaf to the yells which issue from 
the darkness where the third-class carriages are standing. 
There is the station Babu, a thin, sharp-faced, under- 
sized being, whose explanations drive distracted the 
sore-footed villager who has just tramped in, and wishes 
to take a ticket to some place at which the train does 
not stop ; and who bustles his wife she looks like a 
great fly that some greater spider has swathed in web, 
or like the cocoon of some monster tissue-weaving cater- 
pillar hither and thither as if she were a bale of inferior 
piece-goods. But there is little time for delay. The 
blood of the iron horse is up, and it is snorting to be 
off; the whistle screams, and the engine, as if it had 
taken fright, bolts, leaving the rustic with his chrysalis 
wife trying to explain to the inattentive Babu and to the 
bhistie the whereabouts of the village whither he had 
hoped to travel. And so on through the dim night. 
Long reaches of grey country, sudden interruptions of 
bricks and mortar, human voices, and banging of doors. 

Rapid motion naturally generates rapid thought and 
of a jerky kind. I never think so much as when in a 
railway train, but I wish I could write when my thoughts 
are hot. It must be a great relief to let blood from 
the brain with a pen as some can do. Indeed, what a 
pleasure it must be to do things at the right time, and 
as soon as a thought walks into your head to lead it 
out courteously on to paper, and there leave it for ever. 
It could never come back to bother you. As it is, I 



78 Under the Punkah. 

have certain thoughts which are for ever overtaking me. 
In the railway they afflict me. One, for instance, is the 
obstinate contrariety of the native. Even in small things 
we are antipodes. Whatever an Englishman will do 
standing, a native will do sitting. The former beckons 
by moving his finger upwards ; the latter by pawing 
the air downwards. We chirrup to a horse to make it 
go, a native chirrups to it to make it stop. When an 
Englishman has been using an umbrella, he rests it 
against the wall handle upwards ; but a native puts 
it handle downwards. We blow our noses with our 
right hand, wiping them downwards ; they with their 
left hand, and rub their noses upwards. If we wish 
to put a thing down, we do so on the nearest table ; 
a native, if undisturbed, puts a thing down on the 
ground. We write from left to right, they (most of 
them) from right to left : the leaves of our books turn to 
the left, but when we read in native books they turn to 
the right. In civilized places the shepherd drives his 
sheep before him ; here he makes one of the flock, or 
goes in front. Even the birds are contrary to Western 
nature. The robins of England have red on their 
breasts, in India they wear their red under their tails. 
But the list would never end if I could remember all 
the instances that have at different times passed under 
the roller of my brain-press. But somehow the type 
never happened to be inked. 

Again, when travelling I cannot help wondering whe- 



Sight-seeing. 79 

ther I myself in the train am not a very exact illustration 
of the British in India, Here am I, " an heir of all the 
ages, in the foremost files of time," travelling in an isolated 
fragment of western civilization, at railroad speed, through 
a heathen and ignorant country. I have no time to 
speak to the natives waiting at the level crossing. I am 
going too fast. If I could, they would not understand 
or sympathize with me. So they catch only a glimpse of 
me ; think the train very wonderful, but unnecessary; 
understand nothing, and keep their ignorance to them- 
selves. A rush and a screech, and the train is out of 
sight. The gate swings open and the ekkas jingle across 
the line, just as they jingled along in the time of Akbar, 
and as if the metals were not still warm with the rush of 
a passing train. The people in the fields will hardly 
turn to look at the steam-angel. Why, in any English 
shire, with a train passing every two hours, the sweating 
labourer rests a moment with his foot upon the spade 
" to see the train pass ;" but here, with only one train a 
day, and that on but one line, the ryot, fingering the 
weeds, sits with his back to the train crouched on the 
ground like a big frog, his arms straight out before him, 
and his elbows resting on his knees and pays no tribute 
to science. 

Looking out of the window of a train is of itself to me 
a source of great enjoyment, and as long as my pipe 
holds out, I can sit there well-employed. It is won- 
derful how orderly the wild world is. How, without 



So Under the Punkali. 

bidding, all nature moves along in its appointed way, 
each creature fulfilling with all its might the purposes 
of its creation for Pan is here in India still king of 
the country-side. The plover with the crescent of white 
across its wings, sweeps from marsh to marsh, diligently 
intent on froglings, and the dainty little snippet searches 
the reeds by the puddle side as studiously as if the world 
had nothing in it but lob-worms. The hawk with the 
russet head hovers long and high ; its sight is keen, and 
in its swoop is death. The mynas fight on the hillock for 
their dames without thought to spare for the world beyond 
themselves, and the hungry wolf sulks low in the babool's 
shade, wondering why the sun should shine so long. 

A hundred miles gone ! Been asleep ? Did any one 
ever confess with a good grace to having been asleep in 
a train ? Before you start you take pains to explain how 
very irksome railway travelling is to you, how you always 
find the greatest difficulty in closing your eyes, and how 
the carriages on every line you are going to travel on are 
each and severally the most uncomfortable carriages on 
any line. How, then, can you be expected to confess that 
four minutes after you lay down on your bed with a 
grumble at the motion, the night lamp, and Board of 
Directors just one minute after you wound up your 
watch that you fell asleep, and that you have been 
sleeping ever since ? Of course you remember all the 
stations; also, of course, it is very distinctly in your 
recollection how on five different occasions you spoke to 



Sight-seeing. 8 1 

your fellow- passenger, and found him fast asleep, "snoring 
I assure you, awfully." You did at one time close your 
eyes, you allow, and this is why, when the lamp was 
shining full on your up-turned face, your fellow-passenger 
made the mistake of supposing you were aleep. 

*** 

Asleep or not asleep, however, the night hasbeen passed, 
and the train has brought us to Cawnpore. In England, 
men remember Cawnpore as the Place of the Well ; but in 
India it is known as the metropolis of the hunters of 
the mighty boar. The beautiful gardens have long ago 
smothered up in flowers and foliage the memory of '57. 
Looked at from the train, the adjuncts of Cawnpore are 
very much like the adjuncts of Allahabad. The same 
woman in red stained clothes is going to the well with 
her glittering lotahs on her head ; the same man is 
sauntering across to his work in the fields a white cloth 
flung loosely round and over him; the crops are the 
same, the trees and the pariah dogs, the kine and the 
muddy buffaloes. But there are differences. The babul 
trees beyond Cawnpore grow in fine avenues ; the ditches 
are filled full with plumes of grass-blossom, satin white ; 
in every hollow along the rails for many a mile it lies 
thick, hardly allowing the water-roses to show their pink 
blossoms, hardly allowing the water-lilies room for their 
flat leaves and many-petalled flowers to float, affording a 
safe covert for the pied snippet and careful egrets. The 
train had gone perhaps a mile, our pipes were hardly 

6 



82 Under the Punkah. 

re-lit, when, looking from the window I saw come forth 
from a mud-walled hamlet into the keen morning air a 
poor procession of mourners, and a woman in a green 
kirtle stood watching them, shading her eyes with her 
hand, as they passed with their light burden towards the 
mango tope across the fields. Three men carrying away 
a dead child, a little brother running with short steps along- 
side : in his hand a potsherd filled with fire. That was 
all. The pyre will be on the river's bank away beyond 
those old mango trees, from whose boughs the family for 
four generations have gathered their scanty income. 
Surely the story of the death was that beautiful one in the 
Book of Kings : " It fell on a day the child went out to 
his father, to the reapers. And he said unto his father, 
' My head, my head.' And the father said to a lad, 
' Carry him to his mother.' And when he had taken him, 
and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till 
noon, and then died." But there is no Elisha here, 
and so the child of the Hindu woman is for ever dead. 
The faquir with the matted locks who exacts the reverence 
of the ignorant hamlet is powerless to bring back the little 
life. The mother may offer him her jewels her heavy 
nose-ring, the envy of her girl-children, her plaited bangles, 
her toe-studs brought years ago from Delhi but all the 
parohit's arrogant invocations have not the power of the 
whispered prayer of the humble Tishbite. So the body 
is being carried away to be burned. 

Yonder too passing through the corn-fields, still green 



Sight-seeing. 83 

with their young crops, is a party worthy of notice. A 
woman brightly clothed is riding on a small white horse 
burthened with a ponderous head and a pink nose, and 
still more ponderous saddle : before her is set a little 
boy, perhaps three years old, and his cap is of gilded 
tinsel, his dress of gauzy muslins with brilliant edges. 
They have stained the horse's tail and legs a brilliant 
salmon colour. Behind the horse stride the husband and 
his brother; their step is brisker than when they are bound 
for the ploughs, their clothes more brilliantly white : on 
their feet are red shoes turned up at the toes with green. 
In their left hands they hold tight a little bundle, their 
right hands grasp six-foot bamboos. The party is on its 
way to marry the little boy to a still smaller girl. The 
baby-bridegroom evidently likes it : he claps his hand to 
the curly-tailed puppy that barks beneath the horse's 
nose, and waves his arms to the passing train : and the 
parents like it, for by the expedition they add one more 
to the long list of their holidays, and one more family to 
the long list of their relations, that mysterious " bhai 
bund," or brotherhood, which the native of India delights 
in increasing. The match is a good one in every way, 
say the neighbours most desirable. What if the pair 
only number five springs between them ? Will they not 
both grow ? 

The next village will hardly have a wedding in it for 
many a long year to come. The railway has destroyed it. 
Once it was a thriving village. But the railway came, 

(, 2 



84 Under the Punkah. 

and then the rains ; but there was something wrong 
perhaps the embankments checked the drainage for the 
water which used to flow down to the valley remained 
upon the fields. To throw corn-seed upon water seemed 
to the villagers waste of grain, so the land produced no 
crop that year. But the next year it did a crop of deaths. 
The Government sent down its chiefs of sanitation, and 
they sat in judgment upon it; but the plague mean- 
while was reaping with keen sickle, and the remnant of 
the living fled from the village of the dead. It now 
belongs by right of sole possession to the adjutant birds, 
who stand, economizing one leg, upon its grassy walls, or 
parade with a severe solemnity up and down its courtyards. 
The adjutants are always of a grave mien even when, as 
I saw them near Etawah, they are assembled for the dis- 
cussion of so cheerful a topic as a dead horse. The 
lure had drawn together for the day a diligent con- 
vention of greedy birds, the staid adjutants, the sordid 
vultures, and the communist crows. In the midst of the 
strange company lies the carcase, and as you pass you 
catch a gleam as of a clean picked rib, and an ugly con- 
fusion of animal noises, now and then a great wing is 
flapped, and yet, except for a thick croak, or a sudden 
riot of feathers, the birds are silent enough over their 
meal. In the outer ring, waiting sulkily till the adjutants 
shall have eaten their fill, sit the vultures, their ragged 
pinions drooped to the ground, their bald heads erect 
to watch every movement of the revellers unable to 



Sight-seeing. 85 

approach the carcase, and yet unwilling to give up 
hopes. Around the company, and in and out, hop the 
bright-eyed crows, ever and again making a plunge for a 
morsel, alert to seize an opportunity to annoy the less 
active, or to snatch up the shreds of carrion which may 
be jerked out of the circle ; now perched on a vulture's 
back to command a better view, now darting between 
the adjutants' legs, now rolling on the ground in sullen 
contest with some more lucky bird. 

And then Etawah and breakfast and next Aligurh 
and its ill-favoured country, but abounding in antelope, 
which scarcely trouble themselves to turn to look at the 
passing train ; and then Toondla may Toondla be 
forgiven for its draught-beer ! and so through the 
falling evening on to Ghaziabad. Two hours to stay is 
little hardship, for luggage has to be juggled from one 
side to the other, dinner has to be eaten and a long 
pipe to be smoked, and then into the carriage again, and 
away through the moonlight to " merry " Meerut. But 
not merry just now, for the beautiful station is fast 
asleep ; but even the stranger, rattled along in the 
gharrie of the country, t can appreciate its smoothly 
metalled roads, spacious and edged with trees ; the 
roomy compounds, and the wide maidans behind which 
looms a great battalion of barracks. 

In the dak-gharries leaving Meerut. A night glorious 
with a full moon and cool air ; a bed comfortable with 
cosy rugs, a tobacco-pouch and flask ; the tattoos striving 



86 Under the Punkah. 

their vile worst to avoid the labour for which they were 
foaled and bred, and to compass the destruction of their 
fare. And who can ever forget those suddenly re- 
curring periods of full stop and noise whenever there 
was a change of horses? Two ponies are seen creeping 
with a mournful demeanour up the road-bank ; are 
seized, when they arrive upon the level, by a savagely- 
costumed youth, who has hitherto confined his atten- 
tions to a melancholy post-horn ; are thrust backwards 
with much irrelevant abuse of the animals' relatives into 
the primitive harness ; and then, as soon as all the rope- 
ends and buckles are adjusted and the youth having 
resumed his abominable music the traveller has made 
up his mind that he is really off at last, the tattoos turn 
solemnly round, and look with a sad and pensive ex- 
pression of face into the gharrie-door. The whole 
establishment is at once provoked into a deadly 
enmity towards those sad-faced ponies, and falls to 
whacking with long sticks on their responsive ribs. 
At last, while one man, scantily clad and yelling hoarsely, 
pulls by a thin rope each tattoo's ewe-neck to the 
extremity of its tension, and two others push 
savagely at each wheel the unhappy animals are 
deluded into moving a leg. Once set a-going, they are 
lost animals ; shouts grow more frantic, necks are pulled 
an inch longer, the wheel describes the first segment of a 
circle ; matter yields to mind, and in a wild burst of 
despair the gharrie on a sudden wakes up, and is carried 



Sight-seeing. 87 

headlong onwards. And so on to Gurmukhtesur : in- 
tervals of mad speed, post-horn, and jolting ; intervals of 
stagnation, sleepy syces and coolies, stubborn relays, and 
persuasive whacks. 

The tattoo has been Hinduized by generations of 
monotonous ignorance into a sullen obstructiveness. 
He has no objection to carry, as did his fathers 
before him, great loads of merchandise, field produce, or 
fat traders, from morning to night and day after day. 
But he must do it at his own pace, a pensive walk. He 
resents our headlong civilization, as he calls it, " our 
galloping legislation." He is, he says, being civilized 
too fast ; he is not a hansom horse yet, but his descen- 
dants will develop in time, when his sons through many 
generations shall have intermarried with the stately 
daughters of Feringhee studs, the high-bred dames of 
Oosur, Ghazipore, Buxar, and Koruntadee; when the 
even kunkur shall have replaced the weary mud and 
dust, and the sons of men have learnt the secret of keeping 
roads in repair. " Wait," cries the tattoo ; " we are a great 
nation that has been slumbering for centuries, contented 
with the memories of our primeval Arabian splendour. 
Let us wake up by degrees. We are being educated, and 
in time will be all you wish ; at present we are only tats." 
But our century has no patience ; and so we insist, with our 
mail-carts, horns, and long-thonged whips, in riding behind 
small tattoos at hansom speed. One result, however, is 
that we are soon at Gurmukhtesur the dawn-breaking. 



88 Under the Piinkak. 

On the sands at Gurmukhtesur. This is a. fete day, and 
as our doolies wind their way among the stiff tussocks of 
keen harsh grass which the sand barely supports, the long 
processions of holiday-makers men with their foreheads 
daubed with yellow ochre and vermilion, and women, with 
their hair worked up into a high turret, their left cheeks half 
covered by the extravagant nose-jewel, their strangely 
coloured clothes, a head sheet of crimson-red, a kirtle of 
orange, and a bodice of many- coloured chintz was a sight 
that should be vouchsafed only to artists. Beggars are 
plentiful, thrusting crippled limbs before us, arrogant in 
proportion to their deformities; half-tamed cattle with por- 
tentous horns block up the narrow foot-paths and resent 
interference ; salesmen abound with a variety of value- 
less wares. Here a man is offering to the pious 
crowd sweetmeats of strange shapes, and all strangely 
dirty; there another is sitting beside a poor dozen of 
clay figures ; a third a little way off sells coarse green 
flasks, in which the worshippers carry home with them the 
water of the holy river. Among the women I saw two of 
a strange beauty. They were walking together, each 
holding on her head a curious flat earthen flask, with a 
raised mouth in the centre of the disc. Their dress 
was as brilliant as bright colours audaciously alternated 
could make them orange with scarlet, yellow with red, 
and each with all. They were above the average height of 
women, strong-limbed, but shapely, and holding them- 
selves as only Eastern damsels do. Their colour was a 



Sight-seeing. 89 

fine maize ; their mouths full-lipped, but not weak in 
expression ; nose and eyebrows perfect ; and their eyes 
they were not eyes, but positive glories. My doolie 
happened to be stopped a few seconds close before them, 
but in that time there was leisure enough to guess at, 
in those great eyes, a strange depth of the wild 
Rohilla character. I think that one must have been 
named Jael, the other Judith. 

Then we reach the river, and a ponderous boat is 
waiting for us, and on to this our doolies are lifted. 
Behind us crovyd in a score of men who, their piety 
assuaged, are returning to their fields and every-day 
work. We are punted out, and farther and farther 
recedes the white sand of the river-side, fringed with 
the brilliant colours of the holiday dresses, and fainter 
and more faint come to us the cries of invocation to 
the God of the River. Then the unwieldy boat gets 
aground, and the boatmen lay down their oars miracles 
of false balance and bad workmanship and slip into the 
river, and with much shouting pull the crazy structure into 
deeper water. We move along again, on either hand a long 
reach of sand, until we reach a point where a dunghill 
has been heaped up on a slope as a jetty for the con- 
venience of man and beast. Pride is out of the question, 
so I use the dunghill as a pier, and at the upper end find 
myself once more on the sands, a prey to doolie-men, who 
carry me off across an uninteresting plain, into a wilder- 
ness of stunted palm-trees. Here and there stands one of 



QO Under tlie Punka] i. 

a normal stature, but the greed of their owners for the 
potent juice has dwarfed all the rest, and the earthen pots 
hanging in a circle under the coronal of fronds tell their 
own tale. Through these we pass, and suddenly emerge 
upon the welcome stage where gharries are again waiting for 
us. And as we rattle and jingle along, how very much alike 
one mile is to another ! The occasional corn patches with 
the machans like eagles' nests standing out from the 
middle ; the circles of travellers smoking under the trees 
by the road-side ; long streaks of reedy marsh in which 
grey and white wading-birds are looking for worms, and 
over which hover and dart innumerable dragon-flies. Here, 
too, is the same goat we left behind us at Allahabad 
standingridiculously on its hind-legs against a tree, trying in 
vain to reach down with its fore-feet a tuft of leaves which 
you know that, at its utmost stretch, it can never reach. 
But the goat, though ambitious, has little perseverance, so 
he soon gives up his attempt, and falls to at the humbler 
vegetables, which, growing on the flat ground, yield them- 
selves an easy prey. Hour slips after hour ; we are weary 
of pipes) and the afternoon glare reveals us to ourselves in 
all the grime of travel. Welcome is the long reach of 
shady road that leads into Moradabad, and thrice wel- 
come the ascent to the dak-bungalow. With soap and 
water returns my self-respect, and with the proud air of 
one born to command I order the instant death of pullets. 



* 
* * 



Who writes the facetitf. in dak-bungalow books? Go 



Sight-seeing, 9 1 

where you will upwards you meet him : at Moradabad, 
which I take to be a typical dak-bungalow, with khan- 
samah constructed as per standard plan, and bath-room 
doors that never shut ; at Durrial, that lonesome house 
where good curry abideth ; at Kaladoongee, prettily 
built and cheerful, where the secret of tea is known to the 
cook ; at NyneeTal, with its abundance of provisions from 
a "sudden death" to a Strasbourg pate, from the local brew 
to Giesler's driest ; at Ramghur, where fowls lay the eggs 
of finches, but develop the bones of vultures ; at Pooree, 
where the dak-bungalow dog, a fastidious beast, chooses 
to hunt and disperse his fleas under strangers' beds ; 
at Almorah, the model of dak-bungalows, where visits you 
the wily vendor of Ghoorka curios, the strange man who 
offers you in a breath yak-tails, honey, or stuffed birds, an 
executioner's sword as in fashion in Nepal, or walnuts 
seven hundred for the rupee ; at Raneekhet, where wood 
so stringent are our forest laws cannot be bought but 
can be stolen without any difficulty where no fowls 
can be obtained, but eggs are cheap ; at Khyrna, where 
once a year fever kills off the staff, leaving only a washer- 
man to cook for travellers, and a grass-cutter to wait upon 
them at dinner ; at one or all of these places, we have 
only to look at the dak-bungalow book to track the 
facetious wanderer from stage to stage. The trail of the 
unny man is over them all. 

But I left myself just starting from Moradabad, pass- 
ing through the picturesque bazaar, paying toll at the 



92 Under the Punkah. 

bridge of boats, and then entering a long reach of grey 
sand. Here it is impossible not to wonder at and ad- 
mire the splendid working of the doolie-bearers. Though 
the heavy sand lies ankle-deep, their courtesy to each 
other is unbroken, their cheerfulness unchanging - now 
passing a joke with a friend going by, now exchanging 
a hearty " Ram Ram " with another party of bearers 
ever alert to take up the pole in their proper series, 
watchful of sudden holes, and keeping up as they trot 
a running commentary on the road, their freight, their 
hookahs, or the passers-by. The coolie, however, seems 
to many a poor thing. At any rate, it takes a terribly 
short time for some who come to India to consider 
him a creature of no feelings, and of less reason. 
Sensitive as the young Englishman, with his grand 
nation's ideas of independence, may be when he first 
reaches Calcutta or Bombay, the sharp edges of his 
humanity are worn off before he reaches his station, and 
in a month he finds himself speaking of " coolies "- 
ay, and he regrets it at times as the beasts of burden 
of the country, which for a paltry three pennies he 
may use for twelve hours of God's daylight for any 
purpose he pleases. His humanity is his misfortune, 
and his poor allotment of reason the handle for his 
degradation. Better for him had his arms remained 
feet, his ears never been replicated. And yet the coolie 
is worthy of admiration. His heroism in toil should com- 
mend itself to Englishmen ; while the fine independence 



Sight-seeing. 93 

of the 600 men who not long ago struck work on a Govern- 
ment canal, and went home without three weeks' 
wages due to them, is an index of no mean natures. 
Their reason was that one poor creature of their number 
had been treated with injustice. Tell the howling working- 
man of free and independent England this, and he will 
say "damned fools." The injured man should have 
gone to law in a regular way, his expenses being paid by 
his comrades : a petition against the ill-usage of coolies 
should have gone up to government, and meanwhile there 
should have been a strike for only eight hours' work, 
and a rise of twenty-four per cent, in the wages. But 
the up-country coolies argued differently. A brother 
had been insulted : were they in turn to lose their 
"honour"? Rather than this, they hungrily forewent 
their wages, and returned unpaid to their homes among 
the rhododendrons on the hills. 

And now the night is falling, the torches have been 
lighted, and before us lies the Terai, with its miasmata 
and tigers. This is the fabled tract over which, as the 
English public once believed, no bird can fly, but drops 
halfway into the poison-breathing jungle ; no beast can 
live except the hyaena, with whom fever agrees; the cayman 
which knows not ague, flying foxes, and a hideous multi- 
tude of vipers the anaconda, pythons, and amphisbcenas, 
gross spiders that overpower birds, and the snapping 
turtle. How different it is to us now ! A doolie, to 
which sleep comes as lightly as to feather-beds, six men 



94 Under the Punkah. 

and a torch, an hour or two of a not uncomfortable 
motion, and we find ourselves with the day beginning to 
break beyond " the deadly Terai." And then another 
hour, and we turn full upon the dak-bungalow at Kala 
dungi the jungle fowl calling from the deep coverts, 
the first sun striking through the columned trees, a ragged 
tapestry of moss hanging from every bough, and the clean- 
clad kitmutgar bowing in gratitude for favours to come. 



* 
* * 



Up the hill. First the pleasant level, thick-shaded, 
along which the pony lends itself willingly to spur and 
whip until the stranger thinks the hills have been maligned, 
exaggerated ; that khuds are the unwholesome fictions of 
some dyspeptic spinster ; that he will canter into Nynee 
Tal in time for a late breakfast. Only sixteen miles but 
on a sudden Dya Patta becomes a stern reality ; and the 
pony, an old mountaineer, refuses even an amble; the 
road looks as if it never could go down hill again ; the 
sun finds you out on the path, and stares at you as you 
creep up ; and before Mangowlie is reached, your watch 
has told you that breakfast let it be never so late must 
be cold by this time. The khansamah there tells you 
that Nynee Tal is still seven miles above you ; and if it 
rains ! but I will not suppose it. Rather let the ride up 
be in that glorious month October. The clear air reveals 
on one side " the Plains " spread out, a white river winding 
along, dark patches of forest-land enamelled upon lighter 
ones of corn-fields and bare plains, stately clouds here 



Sight-seeing. 95 

and there leisurely trailing their dark shadows across 
the landscape ; on the others, east, west, and north, The 
Hills ! They are heaped together, wall behind wall of 
living green, with great ramparts of rock and smooth 
grassy bastions disposed in orderly disorder, and for moats 
long valleys filled with white mist a grand system of 
fortifications guarding the approaches to the snows. 
The path mounts upwards ; on either hand lies a great 
slope of pine and oak, boulders panelled and festooned 
with moss and ferns, the green landscape relieved here 
by a mass of yellow mullen, there by the crimson leaves 
of the creepers fading among the pines. 

On the sunny patches, or where a gorge suddenly open- 
ing shows a great triangle of mountain side sloping down 
to a valley in which the trees look like shrubs and from 
which rises up the pleasant sound of rushing water, flit 
insects of shapes and tints strange to the new-comer. 
Great velvet bees, banded with orange and gold; the 
flame-coloured Sirex and a myriad of butterflies Sar- 
pedon on his wings reflecting in broad bars the blue of 
the sky above ; Polyctor gorgeous in purple and green and 
gold ; Paris with, on either wing, a great splash of sap- 
phire ; the Gonepteryx and Colias wandering sun-flashes 
and the frittillaries, on whose under-wingslie silver sparkles 
caught, in flitting over, from some glittering cascade. 
But what a dearth of animal life ! There are no squirrels 
on the boughs, or hares on the hill-side. Where are the 
deer lying? where the monkeys hidden? Even birds are few. 



96 Under the Punkah. 

The slate-blue jay is heard screeching or seen hopping 
among the fallen leaves; the braggart parrot with his 
yellow tail that can never leave a tree without telling the 
world of it, a woodpecker or nuthatch is heard at times, 
or a wagtail is seen. True, there is that ubiquitous philo- 
sopher the crow, his vile voice viler by the sore throat he 
seems to have caught in the hills, and there are tomtits 
everywhere ; but the wilderness of trees seems somehow 
very desolate. Oh ! for the more beautiful forests of 
England, the forest of Savernake. There the giant 
beech-trees, smooth-lobed and tender foliaged, spread 
wide their level arms to shade the herds of dappled 
deer, and the red squirrels chatter from the silver boughs 
of the dainty larches ; in the tall bracken-fern lie couched 
a nation of hares and rabbits ; on the white thorn, still 
redolent with the perfume of opening leaf buds, swing 
the blackbird and the thrush, fluting from morning to 
night ; a thousand song-birds are in every thicket, and 
comfortable dormice nestle in every knoll of moss. 
Glorious indeed are the mountains and the forests of 
the East ; but it seems as if there came to them after the 
Creator, grandly shaping as He passed, no angels with 
loving lady hands to make each corner beautiful, to cover 
each stone with mosses, plant flowers in each cranny and 
chink, and give to every nook its tuneful bird or harmless 
beast. 

But no one can accuse me of indifference to the 
beauties of the Indian Hills. Come with me to Nynee 



SigJit-seeing. 97 

Tal and along the level road that scars old-Cheena, from 
which the green lake is seen lying, pear-shaped, at the feet 
of the watchful hills, on which, perched one above the 
other, glisten the white- walled homes that we, in our North- 
ern love of cold, have travelled so far to build. Here is 
the Snow Seat. Blessed benches ! Buddha himself, had he 
just toiled up the steep Khyrna gorge, could not have 
refrained with all his self-denial from resting on your 
broad-barred levels : your height with a nice discretion 
so adjusted, that the feet, sick of going now on heel and 
now on toe, can rest plantigrade, fully, comfortably flat, 
upon the ground, the elbows leaning upon the knees, 
and between the open palms the head while the eyes, 
resentful of the everlasting up-rights of the hills, the 
eternity of rock and tree, rest leisurely upon the distant 
sublimity of the Snowy Range. The Snowy Range ! 
Hats off to the Trisool. Bow to Khamet. Down, down 
with you, to their queen, the Nunda Devi. Modest 
in her superb pre-eminence, she stands blushing for 
the sun is rising behind her more forward and less 
lovely sisters, the grand trinity of rock that from year 
to year looks full across through cloud and storm. 
The elements may fume and fret at times; the space 
between the Snow Hills and the Snow Seat be filled 
now with dense sleet, now with denser fogs ; black rain- 
clouds may sulk along the mountains' side, summer 
fleeces float about them or cluster round their brows. 
But the rain-cloud is soon emptied, the fog slinks 

H 



98 Under the Punkah. 

away, and the summer fleeces are melted into the 
ardent blue; and still there, in their places, are the 
great calm hills, sphinx-eyed, enthroned upon the Hima- 
layas, and robed in imperial ermine. No wonder that 
the natives hold the snows in awe ! Fair or foul the 
weather, from age to age, the grand Three sit there, 
a bench of gods keeping count of time. The desolation 
of the snows is terrible. Seldom does a bird visit them : 
few beasts dwell among them. Their very grandeur 
forbids familiarity even with Nature. 

When I first saw the snows, it was unexpectedly; I 
gasped out with my last mouthful of breath (for I had 
just walked up the hill) "the snows!" Then I sat down 
comfortably and lighted my pipe, and, resting my head 
upon my hands, I looked. And while I looked I forgot to 
smoke : the silent solemnity of those great hills crept over 
me, and before I had satisfied my eyes, I got up, the act 
was hardly voluntary, and passed down the hill, as if, my 
sacrifice offered, it would have been irreverent to loiter. 

*** 

Driving along on any hot morning to an uninteresting 
routine of office work, you feel a flabby sort of sympathy 
with the man out in the sun, struggling with refactory 
bullocks at the well and are half resolved to see about 
having a shed put up for him. But something goes 
wrong with you, and you fall at once into the poetical 
error of envying "humble but honest" toil would it 
not be better after all to have nothing worse to harry you 



SigJit-seeing. 99 

than that lucky fellow there out by the well coaxing 
bullocks up the well-walk, and sauntering with them 
down again ? But after awhile, again, there comes a 
holiday, and as you rattle past the very same man for 
a week with a friend " in camp," you pity " that poor 
beggar " who, despite all his hallooing, can only send his 
beasts up-hill by twisting their tails, and down-hill 
by kicking their stomachs. And some day you will 
be transferred to another station, perhaps get that last 
step that levels all promotion; but a man will go on 
drawing water from the same well, and the wheels will 
creak, and the bullocks stagger, for your successor to 
moralize over just as they did for you. This is very 
feeble moralizing you cannot moralize currente calamo, 
for twaddle is only to be avoided with labour but it was 
my first impression when starting on my sight-seeing, 
so I record it. 

On my way to the railway station the chuprassy 
who brings round the begging-book for our band-stand met 
me, and in the lofty plenitude of my benignity I pulled 
up to explain to him that as we were going to the hills 
he need not bring it next month. On other occasions I 
have spoken roughly to that man. 

Friends had been very careful to warn us against rail- 
way travelling in May. But I am superstitious, and 
believe in luck, if confidently wooed. Besides, the 
auguries had been most auspicious. I saw nine vultures 
on one palm-tree in the railway-barracks compound, and 
H 2 



ioo Under the Punkah. 

there were three kites on the corner of the station roof. 
So I took our tickets boldly. 

Benares has often been visited but never described. 
I should like to have a year's leave given me to wander 
about it ; but I am not sure that I should venture at the 
end of the twelve months to attempt a description. I 
believe I should have turned Hindoo before my leave 
was up, for as it is, the sacred glamour of the place makes 
me think reverently of the holy city. But besides the 
actual city itself " Kashi " the house of the gods there 
is much that has never been described at all. Where, 
for instance, is the story of Madho Das's garden to be 
found a story that includes every event of interest 
since we took the Province ? Then there is the College, 
as instinct with interest as the Golden Temple itself, 
with' its beautiful grounds, that owe so much of their 
beauty to the care of the scholar known so well to 
Europe by his graceful translation of the Ramayana. 
Walk in the garden in the early morning, andjthe singular 
aptitude of the Benares College for the Oxfordship of 
oriental learning grows upon you with an accumulative 
force that only the power of the beauty of the Taj can 
equal, and nothing can surpass. More wild things, 
birds and animals, live unmolested in the college garden 
than in all the rest of Benares. Leave the pigeon-flights 
out of calculation. Sit only under the bamboos, or 
wander among the rose wildernesses round a graceless 
economy has degraded into a school-room the house 



Sight- seeing. 101 

that used to belong to the senior professor and 
you will understand my meaning. The whole place is 
instinct with creature life. Under the trees close by, 
stand scattered and grouped ancient carvings from 
Saranath and elsewhere, objects of study for men of science, 
of worship for the country side. Over and among these 
squirrels troop merrily, and families of sedate mynas 
take their pleasure. Up in the bamboos above you is a 
family of tree-cats, and grey squirrels innumerable ; and 
among their roots the diligent mongoos is busy all day 
long. Lizards and frogs of portentous growth divide 
the damper spots between them, while the sunny level of 
the lawn is the playground of all the prettiest winged 
things known to our Indian gardens. Never disturbed 
here, they have grown bold by long security, and the 
golden orioles and blue jays, crow-pheasants and bee- 
eaters have come to look upon the grounds of the College 
as sacred to themselves. A jealous wall encloses them 
from the hurry and dust of the outer business world, 
and the highways of traffic are hidden from sight by 
creepers and dainty foliage, among which a nation ot 
little birds, queer little green ones that wear white 
spectacles, and dainty purple creatures like humming 
birds, besides a multitude of beautiful insects. In 
the midst of these wild things' pleasure-grounds, Mr. 
Ralph Griffith's house, buried in trees and creepers, 
shows as an ideal retreat of culture and tasteful scholar- 
ship. But we have no time to loiter over the grounds. 



IO2 Under the Punkah. 

Take a look, however, as you pass it, at the crocodile 
in the tank. The beast was put in here nineteen years 
ago, and is now only about six feet long. He (or it) 
lives at the bottom of a tank, and requires much prod- 
ding with bamboos before he will put his head out of 
the dirty water, and when he does there is much in 
his personal appearance to justify his shyness. 

A " sight " to be seen near Benares, and one that has 
been described out of all likeness to itself, is the old 
Buddhist tope of Saranath. But there is little room for 
enthusiasm. To enjoy it, you must enjoy the drive 
to and fro, so the day must be such a one as that which 
we chanced upon. The sun had taken " privilege leave," 
and a brisk cool breeze was officiating for him, and 
the drive was as delightful as it could be. And all 
the world was out of doors at noon. By the road sides 
the vendors of queerly-bottled concoctions sat comfort- 
ably, and under a tree with small round purple blos- 
soms, the wee brown children were sweeping up the 
fallen flowers into heaps and tumbling in them, glad to 
find any plaything, The rain of the day before had 
washed the country clean, the cactus banks were all a- 
glitter with yellow stars, and on the cool and dust-laid 
ground the easily contented kine lay at rest. Along the 
roads women filed chattering, and, relieved from the burden 
of the summer sun, seemed to bear lightly their prodigious 
loads of cucumbers and mangoes. What splendid man- 
goes those are in the orchards on the way to Saranath ! I 



Sight-seeing. i o 3 

was told they belonged to Rajah Shambu Narain. He is 
the son of that fine old gentleman Sir Deo Narain Singh, 
who behaved so well in '57, in spite of the fact that he 
himself believed that our raj was, at any rate for a time, 
over and gone. That he actually did hold this belief 
all the time he worked so splendidly for us rests on 
his own word, and it illustrates the high estimation in 
which his character was held by the Englishmen who 
knew him, that though none of them ever doubted the 
truth of his conviction, none ever doubted his courageous 
loyalty. 

Saranath is one of those places that you " ought to 
see, you know," but which you can have seen just as 
well from a photograph as from life. When you have 
said, on first viewing it, "what a tremendous heap of 
bricks," on examining it, " what boldness of design in that 
flamboyant tracery," and on going into the tunnel which 
runs through it, " I hope there are no snakes here," you 
have nearly exhausted remark. The wretched old impos- 
tor who lights wisps of straw to see you into the tunnel, 
and mumbles what he supposes to be Sanscrit when 
he has got you into the middle, has got doubled up by 
creeping through the tunnel, and wealthy at the same 
time. At any rate he scorns pice. His descendants, 
moreover, who dance wildly round the carriage for 
" bakshish " as you go, are in spite of their impudent 
statement that they " kabhi khana nahin khaya " 
("have never had any victuals") as fat and jolly little 



IO4 Under the Punkah. 

imps as any in fairyland, and the extraordinary way 
in which they keep up with the carriage, threading their 
way through the strewn boulders and bricks, illustrates 
the perfecting effects of long practice and the excellence 
of their physique. 

Close by Saranath is a large artificial mound, on 
the top of which is perched a curious pepper-box con- 
struction apparently of great antiquity, as the bricks 
that have fallen from it are thickly strewn over the 
sides of the mound. As we were driving by, a pariah 
puppy was alarmed from its siesta by our sudden ap- 
proach and fled up the mound. Running over the bricks 
was difficult work, so, instinctively reverting to the habits 
of its wild-dog ancestry, it suddenly squatted down and 
as suddenly seemed to have disappeared ! Whether 
by accident or from inherited instinct, it had selected a 
spot that exactly matched in tints its own colouring. 
More than this, it crouched down with its head so neatly 
fitted between two brick fragments, the body flattened 
miraculously along the ground, and the thigh-bones 
protruding so angularly, as to defy the sharpest eyes. 
I stopped the carriage, and neither my wife nor the 
coachman could see it, though the dog was only 
twenty yards off and the largest cover bits of brick 
and in the olden days of Buddhism bricks were only an 
inch thick. 

This reminds me of an adventure that befell me in my 
first jungle experience. I had gone to a friend's camp 



Sight-seeing. 105 

in the Kirwi district, and one morning strolled up 
a hill side after a peacock, which had settled among 
some great boulders at the top. Arrived there, I 
was clambering with great caution from stone to stone, 
looking round on every side for the bird, when I came to 
a boulder too far from the next to step quietly over, and 
with my head turned to one side had got one leg over 
the boulder, feeling with my foot for the ground. Not 
being able to reach it, I looked over to see how deep the 
drop was, and saw that my foot was only about an inch 
from the ground. The ground! It was a leopard ! And 
the next instant he was out like a flash and down the hill 
side. One of my friends' coolies who had come up at 
the moment declares the beast ran over him. At any 
rate the coolie was lying on the ground, but I fancy 
" astonishment " had a good deal to do with his attitude. 
However, this is not Benares. The day was so 
thoroughly cool that instead of going home, we drove 
to the city to enjoy the sunset from the minarets. 
A short way from it we halted, while a servant went to 
hire a tonjon, and a crowd at once collected to stare at 
us. Such a collection ! Spectral faquirs, all yellow 
ochre and rosary, stalwart men carrying an empty lotah 
and a yard of string, weak old women staggering under 
great baskets laden with melons and strange things of 
the cucumber kind, boys in all stages of spleen and not 
enough cloth for one shirt among them all they all 
stopped to look at us. And while we were waiting we 



io6 Under the Punkah. 

bought some of those copper cylinders in which the 
poorer people wear their charms, horoscopes, or any 
taltsmanic paper they possess, and some of the little 
flasks in which the economically pious carry oil to the 
shrines. They would hold about a salt-spoonful each, 
but the mouth requires a cork half an inch long the 
most pleasing combination of economy and ostentation 
I have met with even among the very economical wor- 
shippers of Benares. I can fancy Bisheshwar's priests 
must often have cause for lamentation, for flowers and 
water, though they may testify devotion, do not fill 
priestly stomachs. 

It is a wonderful walk that, through the Benares bye- 
ways. Sanctity, it is well known, is odorous, but here, so 
solid is the holiness held in solution in the air, that it 
precipitates plentifully on the ground, and you walk over 
a thick and ill-savoured paste of Ganges water and 
votive flowers. Arriving at Aurungzebe's great mosque, 
we climbed one of the minarets. Surely one of the most 
wonderful sights in the whole world is the view from 
the top. On three sides lies the great city, a wilderness 
of flat-roofed houses of many storeys, and for every two 
houses there is a temple. The prospect absolutely bristles 
with temple tops, and of all colours, most of them ma- 
roon, some white, but others tipped with scarlet and 
gold, one all gilt, and one sky blue. Thickly scattered 
among the buildings are peepul trees, of an exquisite 
green, and between tree and temple, flocks of parrots and 



Sight-seeing. 107 

pigeons are all day long in restless motion ; and all day 
long, from the sacred courts, goes up to Brahm a perpetual 
incense of ringing bells and reverend invocation. I do 
not think we are likely in our travels to enjoy such a 
sight again. 

From the great mosque we went to the Brass Bazaar, 
and here the heathen spoiled us. Besides the ordinary 
Benares brass work which, by the way, is now so fashion- 
able in England that the Benares trade has increased 
since the Prince of Wales' visit, to six times its former 
dimensions ; for one worker in brass in 1870, there are, 
so our courteous guide, the Rao Sahib, told me, ten now 
there are wondrous odds and ends to be picked up. 
Among many others we got, for instance, a curious 
swinging tray suspended by a snake-chain from an oc- 
tagonal arch, ornamented at each point with a monster's 
head, like the gurgoyles on a minster wall, and-a peacock 
with its tail spread : a bell with, on the top of the handle, a 
curious figure, in the attitude of prayer, a combination of a 
winged Ninevite creature, and one of Flaxman's harpies, 
intended no doubt for the Vulture King Garuda, the hair 
curled in regular layers of ringlets down to its waist, and 
great wings springing from the shoulder, and coming 
down below the feet. The feet are human, but behind is 
a bird's tail, spread fan-wise. Other treasures were a brass 
cobra (Nepalese work), particularly well moulded, and 
the attitude instinct with malignant life ; a vase about 
four inches high, with a double handle, and removable 



io8 Under the PnnkaJi. 

top, the handles being two female figures, whose feet lose 
themselves in a plait, which again fines down into the 
pattern of the body of the vase in a most artistic way. 
The ornamentation of this small object is particularly good; 
leaves, flowers, and arabesque, forming a setting on either 
side for a medallion on which, in bas-relief, is represented 
a dragon fighting with two men the design throughout 
being singularly artistic and the workmanship very good. 
I need not mention others now, but it is worth noticing that 
the shop-owners do not put these curiosities prominently 
forward. They are to be hunted for on the remotest 
corners of the back shelves. In front is always placed 
the glittering and rather frivolous ware that now finds such 
a ready sale in London as " Indian art," but the real 
treasures have to be extorted only by searching. And 
from the haphazard in which their prices are named it 
is evident that the idea of selling these things to a Euro- 
pean had never been entertained. For instance, rum- 
maging in one shop, I chanced upon a tiny attar-dan most 
quaintly carved, with four peacocks at the corners, and a 
larger bird in the middle. The owner asked two rupees for 
it, but accepted, laughingly, eight annas. This curiosity- 
hunting proved so fascinating, that we spent the rest of the 
day in the brass bazaar and its precincts, accumulating in 
our rummaging a quantity of delightful impossibilities. 

Next morning we saw Benares "from the river" that 
wonderful sight of a city at its bath and prayers. What 
a happy lazy life it seems that of the river-side priests ; and 



Sight-seeing, 109 

how lightly, their devotions once over, the sacredness of 
the place sits on the people ! Two pariah dogs, chasing 
a bandicoot along a ghat crowded with the undressed 
pious, converted the whole congregation into merry- 
makers ; and while one woman was mumbling her 
prayers over a palmful of water, another came up quietly 
from behind, and " ducked " her. What the native 
has to do he does, let the time or place be, to our 
notions, never so unsuitable. Going down the river, 
therefore, you must be prepared to see that simple child 
of Nature, the mild Hindoo, going through in public 
with his preparations for the day, with a thoroughness 
and unbashfulness that might otherwise surprise you. 

On leaving the boat, we went of course to the Golden 
Temple a spot of such surpassing sanctity that it is im- 
possible, with any knowledge of its traditions, to enter 
it without " emotions." From there to the Gyanbapi 
well. This is an interesting historical spot, as having 
given rise in 1809, to a riot that, but for the sagacity of 
Mr. Bird, then officiating as " active magistrate," would 
almost certainly have culminated in a total massacre of 
the Mahommedans of Benares. 1 The Mahommedans 
wantonly outraged the temple, whereupon the Hindoos 

1 This story, curiously enough, is probably known in its authentic 
entirety only to myself, for when editing the Benares Records for the 
Government of the N. W. P., I chanced upon it. The present 
Lieut.-Governor of the province, however, cannot afford to print 
the second volume of my Records, his expenditure on Government 
House being somewhat heavy. 



1 1 o Under the Punkah. 

retaliated by defiling the mosques which stand actually 
within the same walls as the temple. The Mahom- 
medans upon this wrecked the Hindoo premises, overthrew 
the great " lath of Bhairo," and denied the fragments. 
This lath was, perhaps, the most sacred object in Benares, 
and the frenzy of the Hindoos may therefore be imagined. 
All nightlong the city was as busy as at noon, for in every 
bazaar or alley the oath was being administered by the 
goshains to their co-religionists to take revenge. Early 
next day, therefore, the Rajputs turned out, wrecked the 
mosque, and killed every Mahommedan found in the place 
beginning with the weavers. The Mahommedans, 
meanwhile, had entertained the insane idea of outraging 
the Besheshwar temple. Had this supreme sacrilege 
been committed, not a Mahommedan would have been 
alive in Benares the next day. As it was, the two armies 
(for there were thousands of armed men on either side) 
met, and after a sharp conflict a hundred and eighty 
men were afterwards found on the spot dead the Ma- 
hommedans fled. The Rajputs then carried fire and 
sword into the city, and before our regular troops could 
fairly occupy it, so much had been done, that some fifty 
mosques were in flames,and a hundred and odd more dead 
bodies were collected from the streets. Order was, how- 
ever, restored at last, and at this day the Mahommedans 
and Hindoos mix in worship as peacefully as ever. The 
existence, however, of the two religions in such close 
proximity is a standing menace to the peace of the city; 



SigJit-seeing. 1 1 1 

for one mischievous man of either creed could, by a 
single act, fill the sacred precincts with slaughter, and in 
the narrow alleys of Benares our troops would take a 
considerable time in doing any service. 

We loitered about these temples supposed by mil- 
lions of our fellow-subjects to be the actual abode in the 
flesh of the gods whom they worship as long as we 
thought we could without offending the priests by seeming 
idly curious, and then wandered off to the Monkey 
Temple. The creatures there are so over-fed that they 
played with the grain that we gave them, threw it about, 
sat on it, made faces at it but would not eat it. There 
is one gigantic fellow, known to the temple people as 
" the lord of all," who behaved as a very autocrat, for he 
sat at the narrow entrance to the temple courtyard, and 
pulled every goat's leg that passed, cuffed the dogs, and 
when he saw another monkey going to eat, knocked the 
food from its hand. And when he lay down, the nearest 
monkey obsequiously proceeded to scratch his stomach. 
I think, if I were a monkey, I would rather be that one 
than the freest of free simians in any Brazilian forest 
and yet it is difficult to imagine happiness more complete 
than that of a Brazilian monkey in a primeval forest. 

From the monkey temple we went back to the 
bazaars, and wandered about till sundown ; becoming 
possessed in our rambles of another load of useless- 
ness. Among the assortment was another collection of 
devotional oil-bottles, differing from the others in being 



1 1 2 Under the Punkah. 

even more cheaply devout. Imagine a bottle about the 
size of a cherry, having at the bottom a pimple as large 
as three cherry-stones. The containing capacity of that 
bottle must therefore be something less than the space 
between the skin and the stone of a cherry ! Of course 
we bought a collection of gods Hanuman wielding his 
ferocious mace, and Bhairo with his baton of office. 
Bhairo is the superintendent of the divine police of the 
city, Bisheshwar himself being too busy with other 
things to attend to police matters, and Bhairo, being in 
his turn also too busy, relegates his duties to his baton, 
and so this intelligent cudgel goes the rounds of Benares 
by itself and inflicts summary justice upon all breakers 
of the law. We found, too, Krishna fluting on an invisible 
flute to invisible milk-maids ; Bala crawling on all fours ; 
Lakshmi on her lotus ; Ganesh, the paunchy god of the 
wily shop-keeping banniah, with the head of the sagacious 
elephant, and his feet resting on a rat, emblem of cheese- 
paring thrift and small cunning. 

We left Benares at last, and very sorry we were to go ; 
for there is a world of marvels in its labyrinth of lanes. 

*** 

A crime peculiar to this season of the year was ram- 
pant all along the line of the Oudh and Rohilcund 
railway the selling of bad melons. We ourselves, 
tempted by the appearance of the fruit, bought about a 
dozen, both musk and water-melons. But not one was 
fit to eat. They smelt divinely, but were all either over- 



Sight-seeing. \ 1 3 

ripe or green. And yet the native passengers ate 
them readily, for they were only about a penny a-piece. 
No wonder these unfortunates die in the way they do at 
the least hint of sickness. 

I know of nothing in human history more pathetic 
than this readiness of the natives of India to succumb 
to disease. Sudden death seems to be accepted by 
them as a natural development of an illness ; as a 
regular stage, and the final one, of an ailment. They 
inherit sudden death. In the West, if a man dies un- 
expectedly and, apparently, from insufficient cause, we 
inquire if there was anything against the deceased an 
irregular habit of life, or a tendency to drink, or persis- 
tent carelessness of his health. In India death for in- 
adequate reasons carries no problem with it. It never 
occurs to any one to wonder why he died, for everybody 
knows already that it was because he never had enough 
to eat, and because his ancestors before him, through 
many generations, lived and died half-starved. This is 
what kills off the natives of India in such piteous numbers 
and with such piteous ease. They die simply because 
they are not fit to live. At the best of times and as a 
regular thing, many thousands of Indian peasants wear 
their waist-bands tightened to the utmost, so as to relieve 
the pains of hunger, and between them and actual famine 
there intervenes only the daily handful of parched grain. 
When ordinary sickness, therefore, finds out such as 
these, the poor half-starved creatures go down before 

i 



1 1 4 Under the Punkah. 

the scythe in swathes, and when famine such as I saw 
it in Madras in 1877 unmitigated and relentless famine 
overtakes them they die by villages, and districts are 
desolated. 

We, in the West, can hardly understand, therefore, 
what it means that " rain has fallen in India," and it may 
seem at first sight so wide is the world and so far apart 
the interests of races a strange thing that a fall of rain 
should be magnified by such language as is often used. 
And yet in a year of threatened famine it is not easy to 
find in history a greater blessing than the sudden relief 
of a shower. Those who best know the land so sorely 
athirst; who remember the dreary, leafless months, 
when, scathed by hot winds, the country-side lies bare 
and brown under a sky of relentless blue, and who have 
had experience, too, of that first day of gathering clouds, 
when the whole face of nature betokens a welcome to 
the coming rain; when, almost in a single night, the 
heat-cracked plains clothe themselves with grass, the 
fainting trees are lit up with the brightness of young 
leaves, and the world awakens on the morrow to a 
surprise of fertility these can best picture to themselves 
the true spectacle of the change that transfigures the 
face of India, when the clouds burst upon the empty 
fields. During the months of July, August, September, 
and October, which, in other and more kindly seasons, 
are rich with springing vegetation and glad with ' the 
grace of standing corn,' India lay in 1877 wasting under 



Sight-seeing. 115 

a remorseless sun, a great length of deadly days, while 
the ploughs stood idle under the old peepul-tree in the 
centre of the village, and the men gathered gloomily 
about the headman's house, and sadly along the dusty 
highways went the tinkling feet of the women sent forth 
to the shrine by the river to supplicate the Goddess of 
Rain. Day by day the peasant doled out for the present 
meal the precious store put by for sowing his fields for 
the next year's harvest ; day by day the women going 
to the v.'ell found their ropes yet another inch too short 
for the bucket to dip in the shrinking water. The cattle, 
long ago turned loose to find their food where they 
could, had given up the vain search in the fields, and 
lingered about the village, snuffing at the empty troughs 
and lowing impatiently for the evening meal of bitter 
leaves which the lads were beating down from the trees 
in the jungle. And then there came over many a sad 
village in Madras a day when the bucket brought up 
no water from the well, when the grain bag was empty, 
and the cattle dead. Famine, stealthy and pitiless, 
prowled from village to village. Along the raised path- 
ways between the empty fields the sad procession of 
mourners filed all day bearing to the river-side the bodies 
of the dead. Yet still the sun flamed ruthless in the 
sky. The villages gradually emptied of men ; some had 
perished, while the rest had fled from their homes. To 
stay and hope was to die. At last came this rain. It 
did not bring food, but it brought the assurances of 

1 2 



1 1 6 Under the PunkaJi. 

future harvests, and set the poor souls to work and 
hope. Even food would grow cheaper and be more 
freely obtained as those precious drops pattered; for 
the rain came at the right time. Just when further 
hope seemed useless, when from the Indus all along the 
Ganges valley to the Bay, from Oudh, " the garden of 
India," and the principalities of the Rajput and the 
Mahratta, from the wild fastnesses of Sindh to the 
palm-fringed shores of the Eastern coast, the danger 
of a second year of drought was gathering force 
just when it seemed inevitable that half India must be 
involved in the disasters of Madras, the rain-clouds 
hurried up in a night, and the peninsula awoke from 
despair. 

The hot weather season had that year been in the 
beginning unusually mild ; but May brought one of 
those spells of furnace-like heat which even residents in 
the plains of India rarely experience. The west wind 
had lost its last vestige of coolness, and day by day, 
night by night, it increased in fervour, until by the end 
of the month it was a sirocco, a scathing blast, choking 
and suffocating all existing things. The leaves were 
seen to wither off the boughs, birds dropped exhausted 
from the trees, and the absolute desolation of the Indian 
" hot weather " possessed the land. In the sky a fierce 
sun flamed all throughout the day, with a fury intolerable 
to animal life. At noon hardly a living creature would 
go abroad. The dogs lay gasping under the walls, and 



SigJit- seeing. 117 

by the road -sides the crows sat helpless, with beaks 
agape. 

June succeeded to an awful legacy. The soil was 
saturated with heat, seamed with cracks, the trees, 
exhausted by the long struggle, surrendered at last to 
the pitiless sun, while the less hardy shrubs and the 
wild growths of bank and field were dead long ago. 
Looking at the landscape, it seemed impossible that 
even the germs of any fresh life could have escaped. 

With July, however, should have come relief. But 
this year it was not to be. Clouds, laden with promise, 
gathered, and banked themselves against the horizon. 
Men looked to their ploughs, the oriole began to build 
her pendulous nest, and the deer stole out from their 
coverts in the early dawn to see if by chance any young 
shoots were yet above the ground. Still the clouds only 
mocked the land with a drop or two when a deluge 
was needed, and July wore on to the end. 

So August, when the fields should have been ankle- 
deep in green corn, found the land a desert and 
its pleasant places untenanted. By the dried-up lake 
the egret and the crane had lingered awhile, but, de- 
spairing of rain, had gone, leaving their young broods, 
that should now have been finding their food in the 
softened ground, to die of hunger. Among the withered 
sedges the Indian coot had abandoned her nest of eggs, 
and in the tangle of dry water-weeds beyond the bittern's 
young might be found lying dead. Hushed, too, was 



1 1 8 Under the Punkah. 

the noise of running water, and no longer was the black 
and white kingfisher seen hanging in the air, or his 
congener the emerald halcyon, darting, in a flash of 
many hues, from pool to pool. All the feathered lyrists 
of the gardens had departed, the warbler tribe that, with 
their curious notes, make the Indian spring glad, or 
brighten the deep foliage with their gorgeous colours. 

Then September, another month of deadly heat. 
The deep pools dried, the beasts of the jungle, coming 
down at night to drink, found no water, and, urged 
by thirst, prowled audaciously round the villages. There 
was no need, however, for them to fear man now. 
The villages were in many places empty. By the well- 
side could be seen the skeleton of a buffalo, on the 
temple steps the bones of a dog, and under the meeting- 
tree, in the midst of the hamlet, a pile of household 
chattels, too heavy for the enfeebled villagers to carry 
away with them when they fled from their desolated 
homes to the distant centre where the Englishmen lived 
and where they were sure of food. And as the sad 
processions wound along the dusty, dreary roads, shelter- 
less and the very ground glistening and flickering with 
the heat, the people might have thought their gods had 
indeed deserted them. But the patience of the Eastern 
under suffering, whether due to fatalism or not, is very 
pathetic, and not a shrine would be passed upon the 
painful route, that did not receive from each his uncom- 
plaining reverence. 



Siglit-seeing. 1 1 9 

So the days wore on to October. The sowing of seed 
for next year's food now seemed hopeless, and another 
year of famine inevitable ; but the people did not repine. 
They waited patiently and pathetically, closing in round 
the famine works and doing their day's labour for a day's 
food, enduring " the evil times " without hope, but with- 
out murmur. Indeed, hope looked like folly. The 
news came from every side that crops had failed. The 
horizon of disaster seemed expanding every day. Even 
the stout heart of the English official began to fail him, 
and he spoke dismally of the future. The sky was still 
unflecked with clouds, and a great multitude was dying 
at his gates. Then suddenly at last, when it seemed 
almost too late, Nature relented. 

A shadow of clouds had grown up on the horizon, the 
great rain-wind blew, driving a tempest of dust before it, 
whirling the dead leaves from the trees, and signaling 
that help was coming. The birds could be seen gathering 
in the sky, and the cattle turned their heads to the 
wind, for they could scent the approaching showers. 
There would be a strange gloom while the dust storm was 
passing, and the people would throng gazing at the clouds 
or waiting for the rain that they knew was close behind. 
The streets would be filled with men and women, and all 
hands would be idle and all tongues silent. And then lo ! 
the rain. First great sullen drops pattering one by one, 
and then, as if it could not come down fast enough or 
thick enough, the torrent descended not a mocking 



1 20 Under tJie PunkaJt. 

shower, but a glorious life-saving deluge, brimming the 
tanks to overflowing, and sending the dead weeds swirling 
down the nullahs. In instant response the earth broke 
out into life. From forest and hill the familiar cries of 
Nature were again heard, the crane trumpeting to his 
mate as he stalks among the waving edges, the cry of cur- 
lew and plover wheeling above the meres, the clamour of 
wild fowl settling upon the waters, the barking of the fox 
from the nullahs. The antelope found out their old 
haunts, and from the villages the hyena and jackal 
skulked away to ravine and cave. Men and women 
came straggling back to their villages ; ploughs were 
dragged afield ; and, where a week ago was hopelessness 
and desolation, the only sounds of living things, the cries 
of beasts and birds quarrelling over the corpses, there 
awoke a glad renewal of busy peasant life. 

The " Children of the Famine " were numerous in the 
land ; little ones without kith or kin, whose lives had per- 
haps been saved by wonderful sacrifices of affection, only 
to depend henceforth upon the pity of strangers. These 
sad waifs and strays of the Drought who appealed to 
England for help were the offspring of a people remark- 
able among all others for the exercise of charity. Their 
parents, living, never sent the beggar from their door with- 
out some little dole of corn or oil. Yet, even in the pros- 
perous days, when the village was doing well, when the 
bullocks went early afield, and the carts came laden home 
at sunset, there was not much gladness for these small 



SigJit-seeing . 121 

pagans. The wandering minstrel, confident of welcome, 
would indeed come with his sitar and store of ballads, and 
under the tree in the village square the fire would be lit 
and the social hubble-bubble pass round, while the 
women, half-concealed, listened from the doorways to the 
song of SITA'S rescue from the demon-king of Lanka, or 
of the summer days when God-KniSHNA sported by 
Kavery's stream. The children, tumbling with the 
puppies in the firelight, had their share of such small joys 
as this. They were happy most of their time, just as the 
squirrel chirping in the tree above them might be happy. 
Yet they had few of the pleasures of child-life elsewhere. 
The infant of the Indian peasant enjoys but a simple exis- 
tence, for the surroundings of his little world are fixed, and 
the minds that guide him are ignorant and superstitious. 
He finds life serious from the very first, and even baby- 
hood is a solemn period. To English children a wood, 
a meadow, or a lane, spangled with wild flowers and gay 
with sunlit wings, furnishes a wonder-land of pretty and 
living playthings, abounding in delightful possibilities of 
nest and flower and rural excitement. But of these joys 
the Indian villager's children know little. They do not 
even learn the names of the birds and flowers and insects 
about them. Their fathers have never felt curious about 
such things, and so there is no one to take the child 
out into the world of nature, to show him its miracles, the 
tragedies and comedies of animal life, the wonders that 
lurk in the grass, that flit through the air, or abound in the 



122 Under the Punkah. 

stream. In this wall of ignorance the Hindoo poets, it is 
true, have here and there pierced a window, but only to 
drape a quaint or weird fancy over it that the asoca 
blooms when touched by a Brahmin girl's foot, that the 
tamarind is bedevilled, that the mango tips the love-god's 
surest shaft, that the kalpa grants every wish, that the 
partridge feeds on moonbeams, and so on. Awed rather 
than amused by these tales, the little ones in Indian vil- 
lages are proportionally "old-fashioned." They are an 
odd folk, with their pretty winning ways, strangely gentle 
in their manner to each other, and very docile to authority. 
Accustomed to be pleased with so little, they find a quiet 
enjoyment in the merest trifles, and their grave dark eyes 
will brim with laughter at the faintest hint or suggestion 
of mirthfulness in their surroundings. But the poverty 
of their home denies them the changes of scene, and the 
succession of playthings, that brighten other children's 
lives ; their creed and customs bar them from much or 
varied companionship, while a heritage of superstitious 
ignorance seals to them the greater part of the pleasures 
of living in their beautiful country. 

Thus the days pass with the Hindoo child, playing with 
the dust when not asleep in it, and listening to ancient 
fictions. His mother believes them all implicitly " Igno- 
rance," says a Tamil proverb, " is an ornament to women " 
so the child grows up believing them too. Not that 
our small brown urchin is neglected even at ordinary 
times. His mother has all a mother's instincts, and loves 



Siglit-seeing. 123 

him dearly. His eyes blackened with antimony to keep 
off ophthalmia and to look beautiful, his finger-tips tinged 
with henna to preserve the nails, the copper locket round 
his neck to warn off the evil ones all attest her love. 
His father, too, sets great store by his boy, for until the 
child was born he was not certain, so the priest said, of 
happiness in the life to come, for he had no one to lead 
his soul by the hand to the land of the dead. The lad is 
his passport to better existence hereafter, and to his son 
alone must he look for the due performance of the funeral 
obsequies those mystic rites without which in a future 
state he might sink to a lower grade of creation, and be 
born again, perhaps, as a jackal or an owl. And when 
the annual fair comes round the children are the first 
objects of thought. To celebrate the return to Ayudhia 
of the victorious Rama, the country-side is all en fete ; the 
folk put on their best, and the youngsters are not for- 
gotten. In a coat of purple gauze all spangled with 
golden thread, and a glistening tinsel cap, one little 
creature is perched on his father's shoulder, and another 
holds the finger disengaged on the hand that carries the 
cocoa-nut pipe. Behind them shuffle along the women of 
the family, heavily swathed in cloths of bright dyes ; and 
the other children, tricked out in all their gala glories of 
bangle, nose-ring, and toe-stud, go hand-in-hand, chatter- 
ing of all they expect to see, and glad with the hopes of 
promised toys. To those connoisseurs in early pleasure, 
the children of the West, there would not be in an Indian 



1 24 Under the Punkah. 

fair much to tempt, but to the Hindu villager's child it is 
the Carnival of the year, the epoch from which all others 
date, the red-letter day of delights and sweetmeats. The 
father has borrowed from the money-lender a few pence 
to spend " on poojah," but they are spent upon the chil- 
dren. There is enough for all to have a ride on the 
elephant or camel in the merry-go-round, to swing in turn 
upon the red and gold chariot slung between the mango- 
trees, and to get a seat under the awning where the con- 
jurer squats to work his wonders with snake and pigeon 
and egg. Something will be left for a visit to the toy- 
seller's booth, where playthings of clay and paper, but to 
the peasant's child possessions of surpassing preciousness, 
are bought. By the time that the pleasures of the fair 
have all been tasted, the toys chosen, and the sweetmeats 
divided, the sun is setting, and the weary little feet turn 
homeward. It is an eventless life, this of the peasant's 
child, but not an unhappy one, if judged by its absence 
of wants. By-and-by he will go to school, and for so many 
hours a day will sit rocking on his heels, while he intones, 
after his Brahmin preceptor, the rules for a virtuous life 
and the correct addition of a bunya's bills; but which were 
which the small pupil has never exactly distinguished, 
for deferential demeanour towards the cow and all his other 
betters gets somehow confused by a recollection of having 
to carry one to the next column, so that when he grows 
up he will leave his religion to the family priest, and the 
adding up of the bills to the ruinous money-lender. 



Sight-seeing. 125 

But I must return from this digression, for here we are 
at Lucknow and making our way, the morning being 
cool, into the bazaars in quest of curiosities, chiefly pot- 
tery very singularly tinted with shades of green, yellow 
and brown. 2 From the bazaar we went to a hotel 
"once the King of Oudh's general's palace," as the 
landlady was careful to tell us. But if it had been 
called " the king of Oudh's general's Spider's palace," 
it would have been no less appropriate. Such spiders I 
defy any other hotel in India to produce unaided from 
its own resources. I was literally afraid to go into my 
bath-room. Cobwebs of extraordinary bulk, dinginess 
and density, swayed from the ceiling ; they were 
more like fishing-nets than cobwebs, and from behind 
the furniture of the room protruded inches of spiders' legs, 
that told of bodies lurking behind of formidable dimen- 
sions ; every movement in the room was followed by a 
rush of some insect horror or another. But the rooms 
were delightfully cool, albeit gloomy, and as we held a 
levee of pottery-makers all day, we were, after our 
fashion, contented enough. These pottery-men point 
a moral ; and to the eternal discredit of Lucknow 
taste be it said, that their beautiful art is being 

2 One specimen (intended by the maker as some portion of a 
hubble-bubble, being an elaborate chilum with an elaborate top) is 
worth special notice. It is of delicate fretted work, in the same 
curious shades of colour, about the size of an ostrich-egg, and stand- 
ing on a plate of the same ware, makes an extremely effective 
ornament on our English table price threepence. 



1 26 Under the Piuikak. 

utterly ruined. There is, you must .know, a great 
talent localized in Lucknow for moulding pottery, and 
at one time very beautiful shapes lotahs, saroyes, 
ag-dans, etc., used to be a speciality. But some well- 
meaning miscreant has set these simple folk copying 
the Art Journal, and the results are horrors of the 
most awful kind. I obtained, without much trouble, a 
few specimens of common work of good shapes, and then 
requested the production of "some superior ware." 
The men went off and soon returned laden with the 
triumphs of their art so the miserable creatures thought. 
The first basket was uncovered, and oh ! the abomina- 
tion of it ! a St. George, pale blue, was discovered 
killing a dragon, silver gilt. I groaned aloud. The men, 
perceiving that I was not gratified, hastened to assure me 
it was thought excellent of its kind, and to convince me, 
pulled out a book a volume of the Art Joiirnal and 
turned up the original. It was the lid of a presentation 
vase to some regiment of English volunteers ! The next 
basket contained at least twenty attempts to model in mud 
the well-known " boy with kids," and the third basket " the 
dying gladiator " (with elephantiasis in his legs and a dis- 
located hip), " a faun " (with a dropsical body and an 
infamous expression ef countenance), and a "winged 
Victory." " Do you ever sell these ? " I asked. " Plenty," 
was the reply ; and then the unhappy man produced his 
station " order-book " and " testimonials." It was dread- 
ful ! Captain A. acknowledged receipt of " two boys with 



Sight-seeing. 127 

kids, and one Victory, very well executed." Mr. B. put his 
signature to " a pair of gladiators, and do. Victories 
this man works remarkably well." Major C. " a boy with 
kids, one St. George killing the dragon (large) perfectly 
satisfied ;" and so on to the end. The result is, that the 
Lucknow men are abandoning their own beautiful work, 
and import the Azimghur pottery. Of this I bought a 
quantity. For ten rupees you can fill a barrel with very 
artistic ware ; some a rich brown ground, but the gene- 
rality black, with delicate silver tracery. The shapes 
are many of them perfection itself. 3 

At Lucknow we went through much sight-seeing. 
Now I have an extraordinary aversion to sight-seeing. 
I do not know why it is, but when I arrive in front of 
a " sight " I feel half-ashamed of showing much curiosity 
about it, and almost wish to be mistaken by the resi- 
dents for a resident myself. If I could, I would always 
convey to the populace the idea that in the place I 
had just come from we had much finer sights Imam- 

3 When at home last year I went into several Anglo-Indian houses, 
and I particularly noticed how, in their collections, they had failed 
to represent, with either taste or accuracy, the character of Eastern 
art. They had plenty of English flower vases in Cashmere work, 
writing] sets of Bond Street pattern in Guzerati steel and gold work- 
boxes in carved Surat ware, and so on, all over the room. But not 
a single specimen either of Benares brass-work (not the common 
glittering ware, but such things as pandans, saroyes, &c.) or Azim- 
ghur pottery; even the cloth-work taken home, as a rule, is as English 
as possible. It is a pity that for a thing to look " native " should be, 
for so many English women and men in India an objection to it. 



128 Under the Punkah. 

baras at least twice as large, and mosques to which 
theirs were but as pepper-boxes. But it is impossible 
to dissimulate with uniform presence of mind, at any 
rate in premises with which you are not acquainted, and 
your new-comer self is soon betrayed. For instance, we 
were walking towards a building, having dismissed our 
guide with scorn, and straightway proceeded to enter a 
doorway. The guide, who persisted in loafing behind, 
ventured upon a hint that it led nowhere, but with 
a withering glance I compelled his silence, and solemnly 
marshalled our party into the entrance of my own 
choosing. And lo ! to my utter discomfiture, it ended 
about ten yards further in a wall and bats innumerable. 
There was nothing for it but to return ignominiously 
to daylight, where the guide received us with a profound 
salaam and calmly resumed the lead I had so igno- 
miniously usurped. The rest of the party submitted 
sensibly to be taught, but I pretended to take my own 
way (and not seldom with disastrous results as to bats), 
turned my back upon the points specially commended 
to notice, and carried on an obligate of deprecatory 
comparisons. I have all my life been subject to this 
state of mind, and have often tried to analyze it into 
some mental twist, not absolutely contemptible, but in 
vain. Nevertheless it is quite sincere, and extends 
itself to others, so that, from hating to be shown sights 
myself, the spectacle of others being shown them dis- 
satisfies me. My impulse is to humiliate their guide and 



Sight-seeing. 1 29 

redeem the dignity of his victim. But one good result 
of my own system of sight-seeing is that I enjoy them 
after my own fashion thoroughly, a fashion with which 
" instruction " and information have little to do. Thus 
at the Secundrabagh I stayed by myself quite an 
hour at the place where Peel and his merry men of the 
"Shannon "dropped over the wall; buf rather than inquire 
whose tomb it was that stood within, I remain ignorant 
of the dry fact to this day. As " sights," the buildings 
of Lucknow surprise by their novelty but affront by their 
imposition. One building alone commands respect the 
great Imambara. The view from Aurungzebe's minaret 
at Benares was the most striking sight of all that Kashi 
has to show superior in my opinion even to " the view 
from the river" but almost the prettiest we had yet 
seen was that from the Imambara at Lucknow, where, 
with the " Roomi darwaza" the Turkish gateway 
below you on the right, you look across the well- 
wooded landscape at the exquisite grouping of cupolas 
and minarets among the trees. Just as in the Benares 
view the sprinkling of peepuls finely relieves the masonry, 
so here the presence of trees exalts the view from the mere 
positive of prettiness to a gracious superlative. Nothing 
in Lucknow gave me more pleasure than that morning's 
dawdling on the roof of that gigantic hall. Yet among 
the memories of a life must always remain the first view 
of the entourage of the Hosseinabad buildings. What 
a profligacy of labour those pinnacled and bedizened 



130 Under the Punkah. 

buildings illustrate and, in detail, what an execrable 
taste. How could such a paint-and-plaster Government 
have ever hoped to live ? Stroll over the Kaiser Bagh 
and mark the infamous tawdriness of the surface of those 
regal piles and then see the same in a photograph ! 
The deception is gross enough for tears. The impartial 
heliotype does not discern between the yellow ochre and 
plaster of a Kaiser Bagh and the marble and cornelian of 
a Taj. And when selecting photographs for taking to 
England, how sore is the struggle between the desire for 
effect and honesty ! The Shah Nujf makes a splendid 
picture, but who would spend half a minute in looking 
at it in its realities ? Lucknow, in my opinion, is saved 
by the sacred ruins of its Residency and by its Imambara 
from being altogether tawdry. About its picturesqueness 
there can be no doubt, and its beauties of road and 
garden are many. But it does not compel respect in 
the way, for instance, Benares does. Even the Wingfield 
Park, with its beautifully undulating site, its clever 
economy of space so as to contain as many roads with 
as little chopping up of the whole as possible, its casuarina 
dell, and its plant-house, is almost spoiled with statues. 
What a lovely bit the plant-house is ! All India, the 
world has sent its foliage gems, and the result is a 
most beautiful little exhibition of leaves. 

From the Wingfield Park we went to that preposterous 
building, the Martiniere College, " sometimes called 
Constantia," so a book, the Lucknow Album, tells us 



Sight-seeing. 1 3 1 

the motto of the school being Lahore et Constantiil. It 
might therefore just as appropriately be " sometimes " 
called " Labore." I wonder if the boys in it ever make 
predatory expeditions in the direction of the statues on 
the roof? Those lions would not have their tails on a 
week in any English public school, and I can answer 
for myself that I should have made a collection of 
goddesses' mud noses in my first half year or been 
expelled. But they must be very well-behaved lads 
there, or the dormitories would before this have tempted 
many to death, for such incitement to roof-climbing feats 
I never met with. The ceilings of many of the rooms are 
adorned with Loves and Venuses, and these rooms, no 
doubt, are given up to only the little boys. But the 
Martiniere is a fine pile, and for a school, with its water, 
its space and its airiness, it is admirably suited. Below 
the building is " the vault of General Claude Martin," 
an exquisitely cool apartment, of which the school 
authorities sagaciously avail themselves to keep their 
beer-casks in. But the key of the beer was kept up- 
stairs so I found. Need I say anything of the beautiful 
Residency Ruins, except that I got a packet of blue 
ipomea-seed from the Baily Guard ? or of Secundrabagh, 
with a shrub for every Highlander's victim, or of the 
palace of " the heart's delight," Dil Koosha. How des- 
perate the difference between its present jungle-grown 
appearance and its former glories when with elephants 
and cheetahs and falcons the Kings of Oudh went out 

K 2 



132 Under tJie Punkah. 

to the chase ! or of the Chutter Munzil, that sumptuous 
club, where mere mortals are housed as if they were 
king's courtiers, and where the servants understand as by 
a divine inspiration the cooling of drinks ? 

My letters, by the way, are headed "sight-seeing." I 
am afraid there is very little about "sights" in them. To 
tell the truth, I prefer to carry away from a place general 
impressions rather than statistical information for in spite 
of all warning evidence to the contrary, I pretend to 
myself that it is not intellectual to be able to carry names 
and figures and dates, in my head. I always explain, 
when I am at bay for a fact, or brought up with my 
head against figures, that I have not an exact memory 
for statistics, but that my " general impressions" are always 
correct. I do this habitually, although I find that every 
other fool of my acquaintance congratulates and excul- 
pates himself in exactly the same way. At the same time, 
it is only fair to myself to say that the worst fools of my 
acquaintance have sticky memories for facts and figures, 
and have no sympathy with broad impressions. These 
men " see " a place, learn its exact length, breadth and 
age, but feel no more of its spirit or influence than a 
vulture does of a field of recent battle. My chief delight 
in going to a new place in India is to watch some of 
its people "at home," and to test the capabilities 
of its bazaars. I have already mentioned the curious 
pottery ware of Lucknow, but another manufacture 
(of which only three pieces rewarded our search) deserves 



Sight-seeing. 133 

special mention. One of the three is now before me. 
It is a vase of very simple shape, about eight inches high, 
made of a very heavy black metal, probably pure zinc. 
Round the base runs two rims of silver, and from these 
rims spring seven leaves, about an inch wide at the centre 
(where the bulge of the vase comes), and tapering to fine 
points round the top. There is no rim at the top, nor any 
other ornamentation whatever. I may add that the 
" silver" stands out from the black metal foundation, 
and that it is not stamped, the inside of the vase being 
quite smooth. The venation of the leaves is boldly 
done, and they are evidently copies from nature the 
hart's-tongue fern, I should have said, if they had been 
English work. The price paid for the vase was Rs. 8 ; 
they asked Rs. 12. Besides the pottery above men- 
tioned, and this handsome ware, we found nothing. 
Tinsel caps are made in perfection in Lucknow, and 
remarkable ingenuity is often shown in the manipula- 
tion of colours, an infinity of effective changes being rung 
on the usual green, blue and red. It is hardly necessary 
to say that we bought some " Lucknow bangles ;" the 
proper price to pay is Rs. 13 for twelve bangles, all 
silver (cut into diamonds), and Rs. 18 for the dozen if 
gold-washed. 

But Lucknow, if comparatively sterile of Quriosities 
as the Delhi shopkeeper prefers to spell the word 
enabled me to see a den of opium-eaters. Escorted by 
the Kotwal, or head of the city police, we turned one 



1 34 Under the Punkah. 

afternoon from the main bazaar up an impossibly narrow 
lane, so narrow that a dog that was lying asleep in it 
seriously obstructed us. The constable in advance 
told it authoritatively to move on, or "pass away," but it 
neither spake nor moved. Then from his place forth 
stepped a chuprassy of tender years and kicked the 
hound but it nor swooned nor uttered cry. It only 
snored. Then rose the kotwal, an aged man, and placed 
his foot upon its stomach, and then, like summer tempest, 
came its howls, and down the narrow lane it fled pre- 
cipitate. The obstruction thus happily removed, we 
squeezed ourselves out of the gorge to find ourselves in 
front of, what might have been, a long cow-shed. It was, 
however, the licensed opium-shop. On the floor of one 
compartment lay a number of men and women, the 
head of each pillowed on the nearest part of the body of 
the next, and all of them, strange to say, young. And 
the expression of their faces ! It has fixed for me, for ever, 
the lotus-eaters. As we entered, all turned their faces 
towards us, but not one moved from the ground. They 
were all smiling, not the maudlin smile of drunkenness, 
but the beatified smile of those who die happily. It 
was evident they did not see us, for they looked through 
us and away beyond us. We were dream figures to 
them. The gracious alchemy of the drug transmuted 
their gross surroundings, and our own unwelcome selves, 
into the playthings of a pleasant fancy. Do you remem- 
ber in "Realmah," how the people used to buy their 



Sight-seeing. 135 

sleep in little slabs a blue kind being superior, and 
carrying with it sweet dreams? The girl lying in the 
doorway had certainly bought the bluest of all. With 
her eyes swimming, and though intent not staring, she 
looked at us, not one at a time but all at once just as 
the eyes of a full-face portrait seem to be following you, 
until you find that every one else in the room is being 
followed by them as well on her lips playing a smile, 
poor thing, of seraphic purity and sweetness. Another 
group, lying in the open air, was not less interesting two 
boys. One was a lad of peculiarly high-bred look, with a 
naturally gentle face. His clothes showed that he was of 
the upper class. On the same cloth was stretched a dirty 
young scaramouch, bare-headed, his hair a disorderly 
tangle, and his clothes of the coarsest and dirtiest. And 
yet the better of the two prepared the pipes for the other, 
who, all the while, lay with his head on his companion's 
breast, waiting calmly with drowsy eyes fixed on the wall 
before him till the gentle voice of the other bade him 
turn to inhale the ready pipe. It was indescribably strange 
to hear the soft voices and watch the quiet gentle 
is the only word behaviour of these unhappy crea- 
tures. One thing I learnt from the visit. It requires 
two to smoke a pipe of opium. Each prepares the pipe 
for the other rolls up the pill of opium, plugs it into the 
pipe, and holds it over the light that burns by his side till 
it catches fire and bubbles until one or other is in 
dreamland, and then the owner of the " shop " serves the 



136 Under the Punkah. 

survivor till he too joins his friends in the other world. 
There are no troubles there, and till the drug ceases 
to work all are happy. 

*** 

We reached Agra, at noon, and, more welcome than 
angels, found waiting at the station the " representative " 
of the hotel to look after the luggage, &c., and let us 
get off as quickly as possible. What a luxury it is 
getting into a cool hotel after a two mile drive at twelve 
o'clock in the day at the end of May, none can know 
but those who have experienced it ! 

After our fashion we proceeded, after icing ourselves, 
to give audience to sellers of local ware, and very soon 
the verandah was littered with soap-stone and pietra 
dura. I had so often bought both before, that the vendors 
soon abandoned their first eagerness to sell us their 
things at eight times their value and settled down to busi- 
ness. But, just as at Lucknow, the Art Joitrnal patterns 
were considered the chefs-d'oeuvre, and the sellers were 
surprised beyond measure that we scorned the " namuna " 
given them by the Collector or the Padri Sahib. Even- 
tually we got what we wanted at our own prices, and 
as in the present taste for Indian art some may be buying 
soap-stone or inlaid work, it may interest them to know 
what " our own prices " were. A Taj fitting into an 
eleven-inch box, and of the best work was Rs. 5 ; boxes, 
the very handsomest we could pick out, soap-stones 
measuring 7 inches across were Rs. 3 each, and plates, 



Sight-seeing. 1 37 

our own selection again, Re. i each. A white marble 
box, oval, 6 inches long, with a spray of jessamine, was 
Rs. 8 ; and a book 4 inches long, with a " Taj flower " 
in cornelian, Rs. 3-8-0. By far the best specimens of their 
wares are those of the old patterns. Elaborate but not 
agreeable wreathings of vine-leaves and grape bunches 
are very costly but they are not "native art" at all. 
The native does not use the vine-leaf and fruit as an 
ornament when left to himself. Impossible lilies of the 
mediaeval type are his own taste, and in the combination 
of colours in these he excels. The jessamine is his own 
idea too, and so is the curled-up snake, and both are very 
good in their different ways. The carvings in soap-stone 
but the soap-stone lends itself so delightfully to the 
chisel are some of them wonderfully delicate ; but is it 
not curious that modelling the Taj has not suggested their 
modelling other buildings, or parts of them ? The top of 
Etmatdowlah's tomb, for instance, or the Secundra gate- 
way, or that curious Chinese-looking pillar and capital at 
Fatehpur Sikri would make charming and very acceptable 
mementos of those objects. 

Our first sight was of course the Taj, but I am certainly 
not going to venture upon description. Of course too it was 
in splints, it always is. The tinkering, no doubt, will be 
finished some day, but while it lasts is a nuisance. When 
I was last at Agra, the top of the Taj was off! And 
I remember well the disgust of an English party who 
had corne to visit it. But some compensation was in 



138 Under the Punkah. 

store for them, for they chanced to be there when a 
staircase discovered to lead under the Taj from the 
platform on the river side was being opened. The " dis- 
covery " was due to the loquacity of an old man who, 
looking on at the repairs, casually informed the engineer 
in charge that he had been a workman on previous repairs 
about half a century before and that he had worked 
at breaking open a certain staircase. Acting on his in- 
structions the staircase was found, opened, and followed 
as far as an octagonal room from which it was evident 
the passage continued right under the Taj. But the 
exploration went no further, the engineer in charge 
wisely bethinking himself that as the staircase was no 
doubt closed up from prudential motives, there might 
be danger to the Taj from again undermining it. We 
returned to the Taj after dinner, there being a splendid 
moon, and the whole of the next day too we spent in the 
garden and the mosque, steeping ourselves in the beauty 
of the place. Next morning we drove to Rambagh 
and Etmatdowlah's tomb. The latter was undergoing 
" thorough repair," and did not look the better under 
the process. The Rambagh of course was looking its 
worst, but the pleasant river breeze was there as usual. 
I noticed in this garden a variety of " plumbago," upon 
which an immense number of " burnet " moths (that 
curious connecting link between moths and butterflies) 
were feeding. On a small petunia patch close by 
there were several "hawk-moths" of at any rate two 



Sight-seeing . 139 

species (it was about half past-seven in the morning), 
so that I should think Rambagh would be a fine hunt- 
ing-ground for local lepidopterists. We drove home 
through the bazaar and made a collection of inkstands 
dumpy little bottles, glazed fine blue, apple green, or 
scarlet; others blue, black and white worked in patterns 
of stars, rosettes, etc., artistic and effective ; and we further 
chanced upon a colony of metal-workers. Their ware, 
of brass upon iron or a white metal, is well worth buy- 
ing; a rupee purchasing a handsome tumbler kind of 
thing, and twelve rupees a whole set seraye, lotah, tray, 
"tumbler" with lid, also pan-dan and hookah stand. We 
had found work of the same kind at Lucknow, but there 
it was all of one pattern, rings of brass roses or a chec- 
quered pattern upon black metal, and never in any case 
so carefully finished as this at Agra. Cap-making is in 
great perfection here, flowers and stars of tinsel being 
curiously worked into the reverse of the net or muslin 
ground-work, and giving the cap a subdued glitter, 
and richer in appearance than when the ordinary 
tinsel gawds are sewn on to the outside of the material. 
What a widowed and woe-begone appearance Agra has ; 
and, considering its resident population, how deserted 
it appears. Contrasted with Lucknow the difference is 
very striking ; and even with dead-alive Allahabad, Agra 
looks dull. Allahabad of course has the advantage in 
population ; but this does not explain its habitually 
waste appearance. I was in Agra for eight months once, 



14 Under the PunkaJi. 

and do not speak from this last visit's impressions. 
The drive to Secundra a rain-storm having cooled the 
air was delicious, but the only inhabitant out of doors 
that evening was one hungry-looking individual pounding 
along on a dejected pony. The collector, by the way, 
was busy cutting down trees along the Secundra Road an 
excellent process when either the trees are too numerous 
or are dead. But what object there can be in cutting 
down good trees when there are no others, I was puzzled 
to guess. The same reasoning, when discovered, may 
explain why no one looks after the Taj road. Trees 
along it would surely look better than dunghills. 

What a pleasure Fatehpur Sikri is ! Wander where 
you like, it is all delightful. 

In the elephant stables we collected a handful of pea- 
cocks' tail feathers, and disturbed in our subterranean 
ramblings many owls. What a paradise of birds this 
deserted palace-city is; wildernesses of green parrots 
nestle in it ; nearly every bush holds a dove's nest ; the 
robins and they are in hundreds have a bewildering 
choice of secure holes and the owls ! I wonder all 
the owls of India do not come and live here. 

The khansamah has not grown more active with 
years, but then no place could so tempt to loitering and 
laziness as this curious place. So thoroughly is dawdling 
in the air, that the very hens put off laying their 
eggs till they are stale. The very leanest of dogs 
poor beast, with him it is a perpetual Ramazan : in 



Sight-seeing. 141 

pauperum tabernis there is no great choice of leavings 
proved also the very laziest. We threw him a 
bone, but before coming to fetch it he stopped to 
yawn and stretch. Meanwhile a crow came up, and 
instead of seizing the morsel, proceeded to offer a 
trite remark or two, and then picking up the bone, 
hopped off leisurely and sideways. But it was too much 
exertion for it to carry it on to the wall, so when the dog 
dawdled up to investigate matters, the bird sauntered off. 
When the dog had finished with the bone (he did finish 
with it eventually) there was not even a mark left on the 
pavement to show where it had been. Nevertheless the 
crow having, in its own monotonous way, been mean- 
while explaining to the public that affairs worthy their 
attention were in progress, several of the tribe dropped 
in, and the dog having dropped off to sleep, swaggered 
as if they were bishops all over the scene of the repast, 
and finding no traces of a bone, decided in a dilettante 
way that the dog must have swallowed it. To make 
sure, I suppose, they hopped on to his stomach, but 
not a bit did the lazy beast budge. The sun set; and 
where the crows had cawed, owls were chuckling, and 
the beetle had replaced the bee but the dog slept on. 

I wish I could have stayed with it for a week. It 
takes a week to exhaust Fatehpur Sikri and to " intense " 
yourself with it just as the Taj takes six months. But 
time alas was fugitive, and two days later therefore we 
were going back past the Kos Minars. What grand 



142 Under the Punka JL 

old ideas of mile-stones those were ! Only now they 
serve the night jar for shambles, and their rents are full of 
the remains of moths, Golgothas of the creatures of the 
crepuscule. Changing horses at the top of the hill ! 
What a disgusting life this life by spurts must be ; a life 
taken up in doing only the halves of things. No wonder 
dak horses have so little self-respect. Watch that one 
no sooner does he feel himself free than he tries to sneak 
off to his stall, carrying the harness with him. The 
knowledge that he will be sworn at, pulled up with a 
jerk, and perhaps kicked in the stomach for doing so, 
will not prevent him from doing exactly the same to- 
morrow. After all, though, there is a brighter side to 
this half-job life. It must be a relief when one has a 
long dreary road to travel to know that " a change " is 
halfway. Marriage, after all, is something like " changing 
horses." 

It is extraordinary the number of ruined and half- 
ruined tombs one passes on the way from Fatehpur Sikri 
into Agra. They must all have been men of substance, 
those sleepers. And no doubt there were once gardens 
round the tombs. And once, no doubt too, Agra was a 
very fine city to live in when the merchants of the 
world streamed in to sell their wares to the ladies who 
lived among the cool marble corridors of the Fort 
Palace, the playthings of those most royal Moguls ; or, 
at Fatehpur Sikri, were smuggled, with their bales of 
spices and silks and gems, along the covered ways over 



Sight-seeing, 143 

the elephant gateway to the fairy apartments of the 
" wives " of Akbar surely the most splendid of all lovers 
and cosmopolitan even in hisloves." But here am I, just as 
the carriage turns up the hill into Agra, going in memory 
up the hill again to Fatehpur Sikri ; and, seriously, I 
wish I were going back to it. I am leaving India] " for 
good " before long, and of all the memories I shall take 
with me, none will be more permanent than that of 
Akbar's Folly. The views of Benares from the minarets 
and from the river will live for me as long as the 
memory of the Taj, but Fatehpur Sikri will certainly 
outlive them all. 

*** 

Lucknow has nothing in it to remember for its own 
sake. The Residency, Secundrabagh, and the Muchi 
Bhawan, owe their immortality to other reasons than their 
own beauty for its buildings are all paint and plaster ; 
its Hosseinabad Imambaras are tawdry barbarisms 
without, and ludicrous bottle khanas within. But 
Delhi has added one more to the wonders that will 
live for ever (to me) for their own sakes alone the Kutb 
Minar. In our visit to it there was every accident of 
advantage. The drive there in the cool night was perfec- 
tion. What a gracious alchemy it is, that moonlight ! 
Maidans become meadows, dust disappears, and what- 
ever was wanting to the picturesqueness of the people 
and their homes is added. Getting up in the morning 
" to see the sun rise " was a success even beyond expec- 



1 44 Under the Punkah. 

tation. What a spectacle it is, that overlooking the 
dead cities, tracing out the boundaries of fort and 
palaces and pleasure-gardens ! In the distance the 
ruins of the first Delhi, and below us, round the feet 
of the Minar, the tombs of Humayun and his kin, the 
lofty arches and colonnades, great gateways and shapely 
domes ! Oh, you who have never been to India go. 

Having glanced over half provinces and grouped cities, 
we criticized, individually, palace and pleasaunce, next 
the several points in each colonnade or arch and at last, 
our examination becoming microscopic, we noticed the 
peacock mounting guard upon the broken pillar, the bull 
pacing sturdily across the garden-desert, the girl balancing 
her pots on her way to the sheltered well. 

Every one has read of the great flights of butterflies 
that have astonished travellers great flights of butter- 
flies that cloud the sun as they pass overhead, that 
drive their way even against the wind, and do not 
hesitate at the ocean itself. Right out in mid-ocean 
these flights of suicides are sometimes met with, but 
whence and whither they come and go men of science 
cannot tell. Now, at the foot of a gateway near the 
Kutb grows in profusion a thorny shrub, the same that 
amuses the camels and goats among the ruins of the 
Fatehpur Sikri hill, and on the particular morning we were 
there the whole thicket was absolutely ablaze with white 
butterflies. I went down to examine it, and such a sight 
I never saw before. Each bush was alive with the insect 



Sight-seeing. 145 

in every stage ; the chrysalids were so thick in places 
that they touched each other, and while I watched they 
" hatched " by scores and hundreds. I picked a spray 
of them, and in half an hour every chrysalis had let 
loose a butterfly. In another half hour the wings were 
strong and the butterflies were flown. In my hands 
remained a twig with a dozen empty shells. This multi- 
plication of life was simply awful. Every other leaf 
had a caterpillar feeding on it, and among the cater- 
pillars the mothers of the next generation were busy lay- 
ing their eggs. The bushes were literally " alive." And not 
a butterfly left the place of its birth. As soon as its 
wings were strong enough to carry it, it hovered about the 
shell it had just left, and in a minute or two found its 
mate, and, thus, all on one inch of a twig, the life was 
lived from egg to caterpillar, from caterpillar to chrysalis, 
and from chrysalis to butterfly. Death too was all pre- 
pared for them by the side of their cradles. Noticing 
that in very many cases the butterflies did not move 
when I came near, I picked up one with my hand from 
the spot on which it seemed to be resting, and then I 
discovered the horrid secret of its apathy. A spider 
was holding it to the branch a beautiful pale green 
spider and, my eyes opened, I soon became aware of 
the multitudes of the same kind that swarmed among 
the butterflies. If I waved my hand over a bush a hun- 
dred butterflies might rise from a branch, but a hundred 
would remain motionless. A spider had hold of each. 

L 



146 Under the Punkah. 

To give you an idea of the enormous creation and 
destruction that was going on in this patch of scrub that 
morning, I saw what I mistook at first for a bird's nest 
a globular mass of web pendant from a twig. On 
taking it off I found it was only the web of a common 
" wolf " spider, and that it weighed as nearly as possible 
half a pound. (I am a fisherman, and can tell weight in 
my hand very nearly to an ounce.) It was all dust and 
spiders' web and dead butterflies. And you may calculate, 
if you like, how many dead and sucked-dry butterflies go 
to make up half a pound ! Again, in a corner just as 
you have seen dried leaves drifted together by the wind, 
I saw and sifted with my hands a thick drift of butterflies' 
wings. These were the remains of tens of thousands. 
And after this sight I can easily believe in the vast 
numbers of the flights that travellers have seen or in 
any other marvel of nature. 

Walking back to the dak bungalow I picked up what 
a spot, by the way, this is for mineralogists a crystal of a 
pale topaz colour, and in it were embedded several grass 
seeds. I may of course be wrong in calling it a " crys- 
tal," but it is a transparent piece of mineral, and I may 
be wrong about its enclosures, but those who have seen 
it agree with me in their being "grass seeds." If they 
are, the stone is very curious, and apart from its own 
pretty interest points a moral, for if we think these ruins 
of Delhi old, how old are we to think these grass seeds ? 

Our first evening at Delhi was spent on the Ridge, 



Sight-seeing. 147 

where we saw all that was to be seen, the plain below 
still dotted with the fireplaces of those who had attended 
Lord Lytton's great " Assemblage," the racquet-court from 
behind which, in the mutiny, the sepoy had seven pot shots 
at (now) Major Harris, of China renown, and all its other 
' sights,' and so home by the Cashmere Gate, where Lord 
Napier of Magdala records his having put up a memorial 
slab to the Heroes of the Gate. But everything is so over- 
grown, so tame, and so untraceable, that the Ridge, unless 
Nicholson could be your cicerone, cannot thrill you as 
reading its history does. It is very disappointing. One 
place alone speaks to you the spot where Nicholson fell. 
What a murderous place it is ! And think of a gun 
raking it from end to end ! No wonder even the British 
soldiers crouched behind the buttresses and waited " for 
a lead." And then the splendid pluck of the man who 
led them led them, alas, only a few yards. 

Close by the spot is a temple, a delightfully shaded 
nook, where seeing a tempting display of brass oddities 
and not recognizing the fact of its being a shrine B. 
stopped to bargain. The scene with the priest was ludi- 
crous in the extreme. He was cleaning his teeth with a 
twig at the door when B. halted and with impious hands 
pointed at the glittering display and asked " How much 
for the lot ? " He replied, but the only word B. caught was 
" five," and, thinking he was bargaining, offered " three," 
and was proceeding to lift a many-headed god off its place, 
when the priest, his lot in one hand and "tooth-brush " in 

L 2 



148 Under the Punkah. 

the other, warned him off. Astonished at such conduct 
on the part of a vendor of brass-work, B. remonstrated; 
but he maintained absolute silence merely looking B. 
in the face and going on with his tooth-brush. Seeing 
what was going on I hurried up and explained to B. that 
the old man was a priest, that the place was a temple, and 
that the wares were not for sale. Meanwhile, the priest had 
disappeared inside, and, tinkling his hand-bell, began his 
poojahs, so B. apologized, gave four annas to the 
minister, and went away. But I believe none the less, 
that if the woman had not come up just then the priest 
would have bargained with us for his paraphernalia. At 
any rate, there was no ill-feeling manifest in his manner 
of putting away our four-anna bit 

This failure at trading reminds me of more successful 
efforts in the Chandni Chowk, whither, as soon as we had 
finished with the Ridge, we bent our way in quest, as 
is our fashion, of curiosities of local art. Delhi jewel- 
lery being cheaper in England than at Delhi, we re- 
frained from purchasing ; nor, for the same reason, did 
we waste our substance in . riotous ivory-work. We 
found, however, a variety of that black and silver metal- 
work which is made at Lucknow also a coarsely made 
but effective ware, well worth buying in spite of the 
prices asked for it. A small saraye was priced at Rs. 4. 
The fact is that the Imperial Assemblage ruined most 
and enriched a few of the Chandni Chowk tradesmen, 
and whether ruined or enriched, the result to us was the 



Sight-seeing. 1 49 

same enhanced prices ; the poor man wished to recoup, 
the rich was too proud to haggle and descend. Delhi 
produces a rough but interesting pottery blue designs on 
a white-glazed ground ; and though the generality is very 
poor and common-looking, we found in one shop a few 
specimens that looked very like, but much handsomer 
than, much of the old " blue china " lately in vogue. 
For one piece we gave about fivepence, and for two 
others threepence each. There is one shop in the 
chowk where, as the sign -board tells you, " European 
gentlemen often buy Quriosities for Europe," but these 
curiosities with a Q were of the commonest kinds of 
Benares, Lucknow, and Agra productions, and extrava- 
gantly priced. Next door, for a couple of rupees, we 
picked up a set of brass instruments such as the ortho- 
dox use for their poojas a delightful set of absurdities, 
worth, to my notion, any amount of Art Journal Lucknow- 
work or ' ' Paris fashion " Cashmere ware. Pictures of the 
gods of the country (though immoderately priced at eight 
annas each) were too tempting to let slip, so we got an 
assortment of sky-blue deities with crimson feet. One 
picture is delicious. A gilt-faced Krishna is fluting to 
a bevy of fawn-coloured ladies in an indigo stream, but 
the artist, to prevent the foremost concealing those be- 
hind, has been compelled to depict them one above the 
other, and as each is visible to the waist, it is dreadful 
to think of the length of the hindmost lady's legs, sup- 
posing them all to stand on the same level. A similar 



1 50 Under the Punkah. 

art difficulty causes all the lotus-flowers on the pictures 
to look as if they were trundling along the surface of the 
stream on their edges like wheels. I wanted to get more 
of these pictures, but could find none. It is curious that 
no locality should make pictures its speciality. Our find 
at Delhi was an accident, for they are not drawn there, 
but came, we were told, " from Muttra." But then either" 
Muttra or Hurdwar was always given wherever we went 
as the source of everything. One more of our Delhi 
purchases is worth noticing the red and blue " saloo " 
cloths stamped with silver and gold. For a Fancy Ball 
I can imagine nothing more economically effective. 
The price is five annas a yard, and the effect really 
brilliant but I have something more than a suspicion 
that Manchester was concerned in its manufacture. On 
the whole Delhi was disappointing in its local curiosities, 
but then the city is given up to Manchester body and soul. 
The Queen's Gardens are well worth a morning visit, but 
what a pity its possibilities are not better availed of. 
The " canal " might be made a very charming feature ; 
and possessing, what few other public gardens in India 
possess, splendid trees and in great number, these 
gardens are capable of infinite beauties. When I was 
there a large lagerstroemia (I think it was) was in full 
blossom a magnificent vegetable. 

In a " Sight-Seeing " letter I ought perhaps to have 
mentioned the Jama Masjid and the Fort, and the other 
notabilities of Delhi. But so many sight-seers have done 



Sight-seeing. \ 5 1 

that, that I refrain. I would only say that if the shoe I 
saw at the Masjid as " Ali's shoe " was really his, cobblers 
have learnt nothing new for some centuries. 

From Delhi we returned to the hills and Naini Tal, 
narrowly escaping a native " gentleman " as a travelling 
companion. This disagreeable person had with him 
by way of personal " luggage," a hooka, an open bundle 
of eatables chiefly pickles of vilest odour and a stale 
cut melon. Without shoes or stockings, and his turban 
tilted on one side of his head, he lolled along a whole 
seat, insolent because partially educated. Nor was it of 
any use explaining that as there was another native 
gentleman in the next compartment he might as well 
get into it " to oblige a lady." He said something in 
an off-hand way, but his mouth was too full of pan for 
him to be intelligible. Fortunately, another empty 
carriage was discovered, so this discreditable specimen 
of the half-civilized Hindoo remained in possession. My 
servant, however, thinking to gratify me, audibly remarked 
something ungracious about the " black man " travelling 
in sahibs' carriages but he got a box on the ears. 

*** 

After all, " sight-seeing " is pleasanter in cool latitudes. 
I do not go so far as to say I would rather be a polar 
bear than a salamander, but merely that " the hills " of 
India are, taken all round, pleasanter in June for-out-of 
door pursuits, than the plains. There are, it is true, no 
great choice of Golden Temples, Tajes, Imambaras or 



152 Under the Punkah. 

Kutb Minars among the hills. Nor is the Almorah fort 
to be compared with Ramnagar at Benares, or with the 
Agra fort, or the Delhi one. But the Taj is not so white 
as Nunda Debi, nor has Lucknow anything so beautiful, 
nor Benares so reverend, as the Trisool. My last letter 
only brought me as far as Delhi, so I must wrench my 
mind back to the plains for an hour. It is, to my think- 
ing the dernier pas qui coute : at any rate in letter-writing. 
One starts off jauntily enough, but the pen tires with 
the legs, and at the end of a long journey one does not 
rush to record impressions with any of the enthusiasm of 
the beginning. 

From Delhi, then, we railed to Moradabad, and 
here, though " sights " were wanting, we found " local 
art" in most satisfactory activity. To the bazaars, 
therefore, we went. There is a Lowther Arcade in 
Moradabad, the queerest one in the world with such 
shabby toys, and such shabby everything ! Very little 
to buy, however, except lac bangles. This manufacture 
is here carried to perfection ; and nowhere else had we 
seen such a variety, either in colour or pattern, displayed 
for sale. A curious pigment, paint mixed with mica 
dust, is a characteristic of the common wares, and most 
of the " chillums " are one pattern, a pink on a brown 
ground, with raised flowers at regular intervals round 
the rim. But, as you may imagine, it was not here that 
we made the discovery of local talent above referred to. 
That was in the bazaar proper, the High Street of the 
city, and once found, we had discovered the prototype 



Sight- seeing. 153 

of nearly all the metal-work of Upper India. Benares, 
Lucknow, Agra, Delhi all borrow this special ware from 
Moradabad ! That is to say, all the variations in brass- 
upon-iron work that I have described as being of Agra or 
Lucknow or Delhi, are nothing more nor less than copies of 
the Moradabad work, or even, in some cases, Morada- 
bad work itself imported. And it is well worth importa- 
tion, for in Moradabad this ware is carried to great per- 
fection. Nor are the prices at all excessive. A beauti- 
ful little lotah on a tray is Rs. 3, a very handsome suraye 
(steel on black metal), Rs. 7, an eight-inch plate Rs. 2-12. 
Put either of these specimens by the side of those sold 
at Agra or Delhi, and the contrast is very striking ; for, 
as is so often the case, only the inferior qualities are 
imported, the real article, like green Chartreuse, being 
obtainable "only from the makers." One fact about 
Moradabad I must place on record. Its inhabitants 
are the one vile race I have met in India. Low-bred 
Mahomedans, the greater number, their manners are 
insolent to the last degree. Every face wears, for the 
European, a scowl or a sneer, and to ask a question is 
to meet with an insult. But they are not " independent." 
On the contrary, I pushed one man with my foot off his 
stool for refusing repeatedly to answer a question which 
he heard me asking him, and as he hurt his head in 
falling he wept. A Kumaoni is just as liberal with his 
impudence ; but if you touch him he will, the chances 
are, retire to a distance and throw stones at you and 
your pony. The Moradabad men, on the contrary, 



1 54 Under the PunkaJi. 

are pure blackguards, insolent only till kicked. This 
trait of their character I confided to a civilian of the 
station as a discovery ; but he told me that it was a 
generally received opinion, and that officials had to 
tolerate to-day as much insolence as in 1858 would have 
justified the annihilation of the city. The Parsee is not 
always lovable, and Kumaonis are not, to a man, cour- 
teous ; but the low Mahomedan of the Moradabad 
bazaars is simply vile. 

*** 

In the cool night we started for Naini Tal, and 
at daybreak found ourselves at Kaladungi, the pheasants 
calling from the coverts, the tattoos under the trees still 
asleep. A melancholy meal sweetened only by the 
thought of the hills before us discussed, and a pony and 
a jhampan selected, we started. How wonderful it is, 
that gradual and yet rapid influence of the champagne 
air of higher latitudes on the lungs and spirits of comers 
from the plains ? Before Mungowli was reached, I had 
so put the plains heat out of me that no effort of 
memory could recall the sensations of 100 under a 
punkah. The sun a terror? Impossible! It was a 
cheerful luminary, prettily chequering the landscape 
with lights and shades, and waking up birds to twitter, 
butterflies to flutter, and men and women to go picnicking. 
I adored the sun. Its grateful warmth just sufficed to 
make idleness pleasant, and shady oaks the shadier. 

Bheem Tal was our first halt, and I should be 



Sight-seeing. 1 5 5 

more base than usual if I omitted to record the 
beauties of that march. The approach is delightful, 
and unique in its delights. Let it be a cool morning, 
light clouds driving across the sky, slicing off the moun- 
tain tops and patching their sides with shadows, as you 
debouch from the gorges upon the levels of Bheen Tal. 
On a sudden you find yourself in the midst of English 
scenery ! Fields of corn with intervals of grass land, the 
cattle grazing, and clusters of whitewashed huts over- 
grown with gourds, imitating English cottages as well as 
they can. A broad lane runs down between steep banks, 
upon which English flowers are growing, and the hedges are 
full of white dog-roses ; and after a mile or two, the road 
being all the way as level as any country lane at home, 
you come upon the reedy mere Bheem Tal. On the 
marsh land are feeding a hundred cattle and twice as 
many horses, while along the road that skirts the pas- 
turage the drovers and herdsmen are camped in knots. 
From the reed comes all day long the cry of the plover, 
and from the woods beyond the cuckoo shouts from 
early morning late into the night. 

We spent a delightful day at the dak bungalow 
doing nothing, and yet busy enough in doing it. Beneath 
us, the proud drakes were conveying their flotillas of 
ducks and ducklings across the Tal, and on the marsh 
land beyond the lake men and boys were all day long 
hunting their cattle to and fro, wading through the reeds 
to circumvent a bull on battle bent, or splashing through 



156 Under the Punkah. 

an arm of the lake to drive back a straying horse. And 
surely never did beasts keep men so busy. From every 
corner of the pasturage came the threatening lowings of 
the bulls of the different herds, and in spite of vigilant 
eyes they were all day long doing battle. The horses 
were just as restless ; now starting off, a drove together, 
to scour the circuit of the lake : now in pairs squealing 
at each other, as they pawed and pranced about. These 
tattoos must be of a very volatile kind ; forgetting, at the 
first hint of a holiday, alljthe terrors of past bondage, like 
the negro slave of the olden days who, his day's taskover, 
and his sore back oiled, used to plunge at once into the 
dissipations of the banjo and the double-shuffle. In 
the middle of the day a rain-storm suddenly drifted up, 
banking the sky all round with slaty clouds. In a few 
minutes all differences among the kine were settled, and 
the various herds huddled together, while the tattoos 
congregated amicably under trees. But their owners, 
men of all weathers, never moved an inch. They simply 
spread their brown blankets over their heads and sat 
out the pelting storm in the open, dotting the plain 
like great mole heaps on an English meadow. The 
rain-storm over, each mole-hill heaved, and a human 
being issued forth, and having spread out his blanket 
to dry, set off chasing the once more rampant tattoo 
and the already combative bull. We also sallied forth 
to see the " Seven Lakes " that mark the course of 
the great gorge that takes the waters of these hills 



Sight-seeing. \ 5 7 

into the Terai. These lakes are each of them marvels 
of beauty, and each differs from the next. Some are 
clear pools of water, into which on all sides the pine- 
covered hills slope easily, the trees growing, literally, 
at the water's edge ; others are dark, deep tarns, with 
wild bare rocks jutting out from and overhanging 
them ; others are miniature Windermeres, here green 
turf pied with large daisies creeping to the water, there 
a cluster of bushes drooping over, and again, a large 
stone giving a foothold to a tangle of ferns and 
affording the flashing kingfisher a watch-tower. Wild 
raspberries, laden with yellow fruit, and delicious, grew 
in richest abundance on either side the path, and where- 
ever you looked, white roses and jessamine caught the 
eye. There were some beautiful orchids hanging from 
the trees, and the wealth of mosses was wonderful to see. 
Now and then a pheasant stole from off the path before 
us, and from all the hills we heard the khakur barking. 
Such a spot ! If I were going to be in India another 
hot weather, I should take a tent with me, pitch it by 
the third of the " Seven Lakes," and make constant 
excursions to it from Naini Tal. As it was, evening was 
closing in and we had to return, and long shall I re- 
member that exquisite walk home. Nowhere so steep 
as to tire, the path wound in and out among the fern- 
laden rocks, here passing under a group of oaks 
deeply festooned with hanging moss, there crossing a 
noisy brook with reed-choked backwater in which 



158 Under the Punkah. 

dragon-flies by hundreds flashed about, and again 
mounting some grassy knoll, to give you a lovely peep 
through oak and pine, of hills that caught the last rays 
of the sun, and dells already blue with mists. On a 
sudden the beauty ceased, and we found ourselves in a 
great tea-garden, the disciplined regiments of sturdy 
bushes encamped along the bared hill-sides, each camp 
divided from the next by low stone walls. And so through 
the tea-garden down upon the plain again, " and lo ! the 
shining levels of the mere." The cuckoos were asleep, 
but the night-jars had taken up the song, and from the 
marsh land, instead of the antiphony of peewits, we had 
the chorus of " the tuneful natives of the reedy lake," 
and after a ten-mile walk we needed no better lullaby. 

Next morning we started for Ramghar. This march 
is, by far, the finest on the way to Almorah. All are 
beautiful, for, given hills and oaks and pines, and an 
unlimited supply of ferns and flowers, it is not difficult 
to imagine ravishing landscapes. But on the way to 
Ramghar the oaks are finer, the hills statelier, and the 
undergrowth more luxuriant and various, than elsewhere. 
At least, I think so. By the way, what a number of 
" English " flowers grow wild here anemones, forget- 
me-nots, columbine, aconite, wild strawberries, mullen, 
St. John's wort, dog-roses, violets, clematis, buttercups, 
and many more. Half the ferns too are " English " 
ferns, and among the trees how many are familiar ! The 
holly, fir, pine but why go on with the list ? and then 



Sight-seeing. 159 

the mistletoe, bunching itself on the crab apples ! Why 
are not these hills in England, or Englishmen on these 
hills ? Here and there only, one of our countrymen has 
settled, building a cosy house, with orchards and vege- 
table gardens stretching down the hill sides ; but the 
days are yet to come when English enterprise will really 
thrive in the beautiful hills of Kumaon. 

What villianous quadrupeds those of the hills are ! 
The tattoo, if left unwatched for a moment, plants him- 
self across the narrow path to eat the herbage on the 
edge of the khud, leaving you just room to squeeze be- 
tween his heels and the rock. At other times, he lounges 
round corners just as you are going to turn them your- 
self, and always takes the safe side. The cattle, again 
if there are calves in the drove it is a work of some 
address to get past the mothers ; and when a bull takes 
up "an attitude of observation " in the middle of the 
narrow road, head on to you, he is a detestable beast 
altogether. Even the goats, elsewhere ridiculous, arro- 
gate terrors on their native heath, and scrambling about 
upon the shingly hill-sides, shower down stones as 
you pass below. Mountaineers no doubt learnt the 
lesson of these troublesome tactics of stone-rolling upon 
an invading force, from the goats. The monkeys, again, 
browsing unsuspected on the acorns overhead, affect a 
sudden terror at your approach, and just as you are 
passing under them the boughs above you are swayed 
with a mighty commotion, and the whole troop plunges 



1 60 Under the Punkah. 

across over your pony's head, and down the khud on the 
other side. 

Just about half way a curious incident occurred. 

I was riding ahead of my wife's jhampan, and turning a 
corner, came upon a spot where all the pine-trees on a 
small plateau on the left had been cut down, and the 
stumps fired an acre of desolation, charred grass, and 
blackened stumps tipped with grey ashes. As I passed, 
it seemed to me that a stump moved. I looked at the 
place, and, satisfied that I was wrong, was turning my 
head away again when, with just the corner of an eye, I 
saw another stump distinctly stir. The jhampan came 
round, and I called out to my wife. " It is very curious, 
but I could swear I saw those stumps moving there ! " 
Another stump had stirred. And while we were both 
staring at the place the whole congregation of stumps 
with one accord got up and rushed from their places and 
lo ! tails erect, a colony of lungoors vanished down the 
khud. One or two remained behind, squatting on the 
stumps or crouching among the ashes and cinders, and 
though we saw them take their seats, every movement 
was a surprise to us, for it was only by their movements 
that you could count their number. While quiet, they 
were quite invisible, though only a few yards off. 

On the Ramghar Road. There is one piece of this 
road detestable beyond measure a steep rag of road, 
deep in parts, with a fine, glittering sand, and winding 
up the face of a bare, hot hill. But Nature, placing 



Sight-seeing. 16 1 

it where she has, was for once flattering Art by imita- 
tion. For this desolate path leads up to the top of 
the hill. And there the splendid scene, in glorious 
contrast to its vile approach, bursts upon you an 
unrivalled view of the Snows. From east to west, as 
far as the sky-line reaches, the white range stretches, 
huge peak by peak, with an awful symmetry of shape, 
mighty battlements that guard the approaches to a land 
of fable. And between you and the snows the whole 
interval is filled with mountain tops, these nearest 
covered with a splendid vegetation, those farther melt- 
ing into strange phantasms of pine and mist, phantom 
trees growing out of blue and purple clouds. Do you 
remember Satan's transport when, after the tedious 
passage of Chaos he, for the first time, caught sight of the 
Paradise abode of man? 

From the hill crest to the dak bungalow the road lies 
through beautiful wooded paths, the trees meeting over- 
head for a mile together, all tapestried with moss and 
carpeted with ferns. The dak bungalow had before it 
two young deodars, large enough to sit under all day 
long, with a certainty of deep shade, and here I added 
to those papers published in " In my Indian Garden," 
and called "Under the Trees," another for " Under the 
Deodars." 

UNDER THE DEODARS. The Greeks called their pines 
"wind-haunted "what epithet would they, then, have 
found for the deodars ? Just as sea-shells hold for ever 

M 



1 62 Under the Punkah. 

and for aye the sound of the waves, and " remembering 
their august abodes " murmur still of the places they 
have left so the deodars. They let go no sound of 
zephyr or of storm that has once passed them by. 
Though the air be so still that the tiny down plucked 
from her breast by the preening dove falls straight to the 
ground, yet the deodars are wind blown. There is not 
breeze enough to float the semul's silk, yet the deodars 
are rehearsing a storm ! And they set their music to 
every tune of the spheres. True song-smiths they have 
caught the rhythm that runs through Nature. A thou- 
sand tunes with only one set of words among them all, 
from the stately tropes of the hills, the grand antiphony 
of sunshine and shade, to the lilting of two minnesingers 
among the oaks or the tinkling of two blue-bells down 
below there in the valley. 1 

Listen to the deodars now, and you may hear as many 
woodland sounds as ever beset young Anodos with horrors 
and delights, the multitudinous voice of Nature. Now, 
it is the sound of water: the headlong rush of a great 
river Gunga falling on to the shoulders of the god. And 
in the same minute, the same river flowing steadily along 
between bulrush beds, full fed and whispering its con- 
tent as it goes. Listen again ! A rivulet is tumbling 
down to the Kosi ; but even while you listen the splash 
and bubble die away, and among the deodars you hear 
only the steady patter of a phantom rain. Wonderful 
1 I have been reading Emerson. P. R. 



Sight-seeing. 163 

minstrels truly ! that in one hour can play you through 
the landscapes of this world, from the deep-voiced sea 
to the wind-swept heath, from murmuring woods to 
sighing river sides ! 

And sitting here, what a stream of curious life flows 
by along the Almorah road. Were there ever such 
family parties and such impossible babies ? They sleep 
anywhere. A basket filled with brass pots would not 
recommend itself to a baby elsewhere as a bed, but there 
goes one, fast asleep on a cluster of lotahs and on the 
back of a tattoo, too, and going fast down hill ! And 
the mothers ! No wonder these hill-women lose so soon 
the graces of their youth. Dragging a goat up hill by 
its ears I never understood before why goats' ears were 
created so long and so soft is of itself no trifling duty 
throughout a day's march, but with a baby clinging, 
like a limpet, on one hip and the arm that encircles it 
balancing also a basket full of chattels on the head, it 
must be enough to age a Titan. The head of the 
family, a stalwart mountaineer, meanwhile leads the 
tattoo, and requires a staff in his right hand to help him 
to do even that. A mere scrap of a girl-child comes 
behind in charge of five tattoos a heavy charge for 
such a fragment, it seems. But the infant has a system 
of her own, for whenever she comes up with the last 
tattoo, she lets the great staff which she carries fall 
with a crack on its fetlock, and the tattoo ambles 
ahead forthwith. And when she meets another drove, 



1 64 Under tke Punkah. 

she scrambles a few feet up the hill and leaves her 
animals to make their own arrangements with the aliens. 
The system is simple enough, and saves her a world of 
worry. And such dogs ! The very shadows and 
adumbrations of the pariah of the plains. I threw a 
potted-meat tin " potted shrimps " to one of them. 
The thing smelt savoury, indeed it seemed to the poor 
beast a glimpse of another world. And the glimpse was 
enough to set it a-thinking a-thinking what a superior 
kind of dog it might have been, under a happier star. 
And the desolate present overwhelmed it, and it lifted 
up its voice and whimpered over the tin. You know of 
course why dogs howl at music ? It is because music 
can speak to brutes, and at the divine sound the dog, 
snatching as it were a peep through a door ajar of a world 
of beauties which it can faintly comprehend but may not 
compass, falls to lamenting. And so my dog with the 
tin. There was enough of a carnal aroma about the 
tin to make ihe thing a joy and gladness to the dog, but 
there was, over and above the meaty fragrance, a some- 
thing, divine yet dreadful, that filled the animal with 
apprehension. He did not in this disguised form recognize 
how should he ? the flavour of the harmless crusta- 
cean. He had never heard, poor beast, of a shrimp 
But he leaped to his conclusion that the thing was of 
infernal origin, some wile of the evil one, too beauti- 
ful to be resigned, yet too dread for dalliance. Unable 
to tear himself away, he dared not taste. His nose was 



Sight-seeing. 1 6 5 

in conflict with all his other senses. And so, with ears 
cocked straight at it, and eyes starting towards it, as you 
may remember having seen a terrier on guard over a 
hedgehog, the agitated dog sate by the tin, whimpering 
ever and again, as the thought came over him of what 
delights there must be somewhere in the world for other 
dogs, but not, alas ! for him. 

It has been said that "the power of inference dif- 
ferentiates man from the lower animals." I do not know 
who said it first, but I have it against Emerson that he 
quotes it ; but whoever originated it, was at fault. For 
man is not differentiated from animals in that he can 
draw inferences. Inference is the secret of all that 
suspicion upon which hinge their ethics, morals, and 
politics, the one weapon that gives them a chance in 
the struggle of existence, the birthright of every beast 
and fowl, and through life the one method of his ar- 
gument, the one principle of his action. Without the 
gift of instant and constant inference among animals, 
man would inhabit the world alone. 

But the deodars. While I have been writing, the train 
of travellers has curled round the hill, and the road is 
desolate. Only a hen left, to look at all this landscape ! 
And yet if you mark it, " the tame villatic fowl " yonder, 
has an unwonted bravery of gait. A small thing will 
puff up a hen. It happened thus : On arriving, we had 
found in our provision-basket half a loaf, too stale to eat, 
and had thrown it out. Straightway the sparrows fore- 



1 66 Under the Punkah. 

gathered and making the loaf their " commissariat go- 
down," began providently each to secret its morsel. Upon 
the rout there suddenly stepped round the corner a fowl 
this fowl and making a great show of caution, as if the 
enterprise were one of some hardihood, made prey at 
the beak's point, of the entire half-loaf. With the same 
affectation of strategy she walked off with it down the 
road. She has just finished it, and is now parading 
her filled stomach on the high road, as one who has 
dined might carry his white waistcoat out into the 
street before his tavern. And just as the hungry ones 
have a delightful revenge of him when a passing cart 
splashes his waistcoat, so I, waiting here for luncheon, 
delight in the hen's discomfiture. She was swaggering 
along the path, when a sound above her attracted her 
attention. Her hearing was perhaps thickened by the 
recent meal, and lightly satisfied, she paced on, planting 
her feet as precisely as if there had been some reason 
for choosing each spot she trod on. Again the noise ! 
She looked up. It was only a kid browsing on the bank 
above. " Only one of those kids," she said, quite out 
loud, so that I could hear her, and resumed her stately 
progress. Alas for pride ! The next minute a pebble, 
displaced by the kid, came trundling down the bank, 
(" only that kid," said she,) and phud ! fell plump on 
the middle of her. back ! On the instant her pride 
collapsed : self-respect even was flung aside : precipitate 
terror supervened. A flurry of feathers in a little cloud 



Sight-seeing. 167 

of dust came clackering up the path, and for the rest of the 
day that fowl walked as if the whole world was in ambush. 
History records little to the credit of the hen. Poets 
avoid her, even Wordsworth, and Cowper, having once 
referred to " the domestic tribe," says nothing more of 
her. Milton damns her with a passing notice, and 
Keats, the great bard of the birds, never mentions the 
humble wife of chanticleer. Why, the Egyptians did 
not even worship the hen ! and they went, as the gods 
know, low enough for things to worship. The cock, on 
the contrary, has his glories of the past and present. 
Minerva and ^Esculapius contended for the honour of 
honouring him. Cowper calls him " the noblest of the 
feathered kind," and (though I do not agree with Scott as 
to his note being " a blithe carol ") I agree in the main 
with the praises this bird has garnered. 

Under the deodars nothing grows. I suppose all the 
things want to see the beautiful trees and so, just as you 
do, to have a look at a tall thing, they step back a little 
way. Just outside the circle of the tree a crowd of blue 
flowers, as pretty as the English speedwell, stare all day 
with their round blue eyes at the shapely trees. And 
in every one of them you may pick, you will find nestled 
round the centre a colony of tiny beetles. And yet we 
speak of "little" flowers, forgetting that each of them is 
a parish, and to things of a smaller size compasses 
Trismegistus' circle. And when we further remark that 
each of those beetles that nestles round the centre of 



1 68 Under the Punkah. 

the speedwell blossom is itself a park and pasture for 
herds of parasites, how misappropriate "little" becomes! 
By whose rules shall size be judged? The Aztecs 
builded cities, but a cat would have been a terror to an 
Aztec. The pigmies that once lived along the Ganges 
had many a stiff bout with the partridges. Their standard 
of size does not satisfy us, nor would ours satisfy the 
Anakim. 

But it is time to go in, for 

" From the neighbouring vale 
The cuckoo straggling up to the hill tops 
Shouteth faint tidings of some gladder place," 

and the sun has dipped beyond the hill. It is time to 
put our belongings together and move on. 

Our next stage is Peora. But if I die by the way, I 
hope I shall be buried by the way. It would be selfish 
to monopolize the deodars, or I would like to be buried 
here. Do you remember in Phantastes how, " They 
buried me in no graveyard; they loved me too much for 
that ; but they laid me in the grounds of their own 
castle, amid many trees." 




EASTERN SMELLS AND WESTERN NOSES. 




|N his essay showing that a certain nation con- 
trary to the generally applauded notion " do 
not stink," Sir Thomas Browne uses with effect 
the argument that a mixed race cannot have a national 
smell. Among a mongrel people he contends no odour 
could be " gentilitious ;" yet he nowhere denies the 
possibility, or even impugns the probability, of a pure 
people having a popular smell, a scent in which the 
public should share alike, an aroma as much common 
property as the National Anthem, a joint-stock fragrance, 
a commonwealth of odour a perfume with which no 
single inividual could selfishly withdraw, saying, " This is 
my own, my proper and peculiar flavour, and no man 
may cry me halves in it," as Alexander or Mahomed 
might have done, who, unless history lies, were " divinely " 
scented. Not that individual odours, as distinct from 
those of the species, have been uncommon in any times. 
Many instances may be found, if examples were required, 
to support "a postulate which has ever found unqualified 
assent." 

" For well I know," cries Don Quixote, " the scent of 
that lovely rose ! and tell me, Sancho, when near her, 



170 Under the Punkah. 

thou must have perceived a Sabean odour, an aromatic 
fragrance, a something sweet for which I cannot find a 
name a scent, a perfume as if thou wert in the shop 
of some curious glover." 

" All I can say is," quoth Sancho, " that I perceived 
somewhat of a strong smell." 

It would, however, be pure knavery to argue from the 
particular fragrance of Don Quixote's lady that all the 
dames of La Mancha could appeal to the affections 
through the nose. Equally dishonest would it be to 
disperse Alexander's scent over all Macedon, or with a 
high hand conclude that all Romans were "as unsavoury 
as Bassa." On the other hand, to argue, from the exist- 
ence of a scentless individual, the innocence of his 
brethren, is to suppose that all violets are dog-violets, or 
that the presence of a snowdrop deodorizes the guilty 
garlic : whereas, in fact, the existence of such an individual 
enhances the universal fragrance; as Kalidasa says, 
" one speck of black shows more gloriously bright the 
skin of Siva's bull." If a number of units produce an 
aroma, it will be hard to believe that each is individually 
inodorous, in which argument from probabilities I have 
to a certain degree the countenance of the Pundits in 
their maxim of the Stick and the Cake. What is more 
to the point, we have on the globe at least one fragrant 
people, for (leaving Greenlanders out of the question) no 
one denies that Africans are aromatic. This is no novel 
suggestion, but an old antiquity ; it is " a point of high 



Eastern Smells and Western Noses. 171 

prescription, and a fact universally smelt out. If, therefore, 
one nation can indisputably claim a general odour, it is 
possible another may ; and much may be found to 
support any one who will say that in this direction " warm 
India's suppled-bodied sons " may claim equality of 
natural adornment with "the musky daughter of the 
Nile." If it were not for the blubber-feeding Greenlanders, 
I might contend that " it is all the fault of that 
confounded sun," for heat expresses odour elsewhere than 
in Asia and Africa, and I can keep within " Trismegistus 
his circle" and " need not to pitch beyond ubiquity " 
when I cite Pandemonium as an instance of unity of 
smell in a large population. We read in Byron's " Vision 
of Judgment" that at the sound of Pye's heroics the whole 
assembly sprang off with a melodious twang and a variety 
of scents, some sulphureous, some ambrosial ; and that 
the sulphureous individuals all fled one way gibbering to 
their own dominions, that odorous Principality of the 
Damned whither in old times the handsome minstrel 
went in quest of his wife. That the infernal fraternity is 
uni-odorous we know, on the authority of the immortal 
Manchegan Squire, who says : " This devil is as plump 
as a partridge, and has another property very different 
from what you devils are wont to have, for it is said they 
all smell of brimstone," that is, like the Vienna matches 
ohne phosphor-geruch that Wendell Holmes hates so 
honestly. 

To return to India ; it is very certain that a single 



i/2 Under the Punkah. 

Hindoo is not always perceptibly fragrant, yet it is equally 
certain that if, when a dozen are together, an average 
be struck, each individual of the party must be credited 
with a considerable amount. In any gathering of 
Orientals the Western stranger is instantly aware of a 
circumambient aroma ; he becomes conscious of a new 
and powerful perfume ; a curious je ne sais quoi scent 
which may, possibly, like attar of roses, require only end- 
less dilution and an acquired taste to become pleasant, 
but which certainly requires dilution for the novice. No 
particular person or member of the public seems to be 
odorous beyond his fellows, but put three together, and 
they might be 300. Perhaps this is produced by sym- 
pathy, by some magnetic relation between like and like, 
the result of natural affinities. It may be that each 
Hindoo is flint to the other's steel, and that more 
than one is requisite for the combustion of the aromatic 
particles ; and that, as evening draws the perfume from 
flowers, and excitement the " bouquet " from a musk-rat, 
contiguity and congregation are required for the proper 
expression of the fragrance of Orientals. Cases of indi- 
viduals innocent of all savour carry therefore no weight, 
unless to those who believe that all asses can speak 
because Balaam's quadruped was casually gifted with 
articulate utterance, or that fish as a rule possess stentorian 
lungs because Mr. Briggs once caught a pike that barked. 
A notable point about this Eastern savour is that though 
it approaches many others, it exactly resembles none. 



Eastern Smells and Western Noses. \ 7 3 

Like Elia's burnt pig, it doesn't smell of burnt cottage, 
nor yet of any known herb, weed, or flower. Though 
unique, its entity is intertwisted with a host of phantom 
entities, as a face seen in a passing train, instantly 
recognized but never brought home to any one person 
from its partial resemblance to a hundred ; and they say 
that no number of qualified truths can ever make up 
an absolute verity. By smelling a musk-rat through 
a bunch of garlic an idea of it may be arrived at, but 
hardly more; for the conflicting odours hamper the 
judgment by distracting the nostrils, keeping it hover- 
ing in acute uncertainty between the components 
without allowing it to settle on the aggregate " so 
blended and running into each other, that both together 
make but one ambrosial result or common substance." 
This seems to be affected not by an actual confusion of 
matters, but by parallel existence ; rather by the nice 
exactitude of balance than mutual absorption ; not so 
much by a mingled unity, as from our impotence to 
unravel the main threads, to single out any one streak of 
colour. It is like a nobody's child, a Ginx's baby, with 
a whole parish for parents ; or one of those puddings 
which at every mouthful might be sworn to change its 
taste, and which when finished leaves one indelible but 
impalpable fragrance on the memory of the palate, that 
may be called up by every passing odour, but is never 
in its composite singularity again encountered. It is a 
Lost Chord. 



1 74 Under the Punkah. 

In the West no such community of fragrance obtains, 
and the great Science of Perfume, though exquisitely 
perfected in certain details, does not command as in the 
East the attention of the masses. With us it is the 
exception to use " scent," but with them the singular 
person is the scentless one. The nose nevertheless plays 
an important part even in Europe, and it is well therefore 
that this feature has at last found one courageous apostle. 

Dr Jager, a Professor of Stuttgart, has, after most 
patient experiments with his own nose, proved it to be 
the seat of his soul. Simply with the nose on his face 
the learned Professor is enabled, eyes shut and ears 
stopped, to discriminate the character of any stranger he 
may meet, or even that he has passed in the street. He 
can, then, by merely putting his nose to the key-hole, tell 
what the people on the other side of the door are doing ; 
and, more than this, what they have just been doing, can 
assure himself whether they are young or old, married or 
single, and whether they are happy or the reverse. Pro- 
ceeding upon the knowledge thus acquired by a process 
which we may call successful diagnosis, the Professor 
argues, in a lecture which he has given to the world on 
this fascinating subject, that if different scents express 
different traits of character, each trait in turn can be 
separately affected by a particular scent, and his experi- 
ments, he gravely assures us, prove him here as right as 
before. For not only can Dr. Jager smell, for instance, 
bad temper, or a tendency to procrastination, in any 



Eastern Smells and Western Noses. 175 

individual, but by emitting the ^ counteracting antidote 
odour, he can smooth the frown into a smile, and 
electrify the sluggard into despatch. Yet Dr. Jager does 
not claim to possess within himself, his own actual body, 
more perfumes than any of his neighbours. He does 
not arrogate to himself any special odours, as did Mo- 
hamet and Alexander the Great, or ask to divide honours 
with the civet-cat or musk-deer. There is no insolent 
assumption of this kind about the Professor, no un- 
natural straining after the possession of extraordinary 
attributes. He merely claims to have discovered by 
chemical research certain preparations which, when vo- 
latilized, produce certain results upon the nostrils. There 
is no o'er- vaulting ambition in this. The merest tyro can 
compass as much with a very few ingredients ; and, as a 
matter of fact, any boy of average, or even the meanest, 
capacity can, by a courageous combination of the con- 
tents of his chemical chest, produce such effluvia as shall 
at once, and violently, affect the nostrils of the whole 
household, not excluding the girl in the scullery or the 
cat on the nursery hearthrug. But the boy's results are 
miscellaneous and fortuitous. He blunders upon a smell 
of extraordinary volume and force by, it may be, the 
merest accident, and quite unintentionally, therefore, lets 
loose upon himself the collective wrath of his family circle. 
Dr. Jager, however, has brought the whole gamut of smells 
under his own control ; and so, by letting out from his 
pocket any one he chooses, he can at once dissolve an 



176 Under the Punkah. 

assembly in tears or make every face in it ripple with 
smiles. The great secret of composition once attained, 
care in uncorking is all that is demanded, and the Pro- 
fessor, with his pocket full of little booties, can move 
about unsuspected among his kind ; and, by his judicious 
emission of various smells as he goes along, can tran- 
quillize a frantic mob, or set the passing funeral giggling, 
or a punch-and-judy audience sobbing. 

Hitherto the nose has been held, as compared with the 
other organs of sense, in very slight account indeed. It 
has always been looked upon as the shabby feature of 
the face, and, in public society, has been spoken of [with 
an apology for mentioning it. Many attempts have been 
made to render it respectable, but the best-intentioned 
efforts of philosophers have been thwarted by the ex- 
tremes to which their theories have been pushed by the 
longer-nosed individuals of the public. The nose may 
be really an index of character, but the amount of nose 
does not necessarily imply, as some people contend, a 
corresponding pre-eminence of genius or virtue. Many 
great and good men have had quite indifferent noses, 
while the length of the proboscis of more than one hero 
of the Chamber of Horrors is remarkable. The feeling 
against this feature has, therefore, been irritated rather 
than soothed by the well-meant efforts of theorists. 
When the urchin, innocent of art, wishes, with his simple 
chalk, to caricature the householder upon his gate-post 
or garden-door, he finds in the nose the most suitable 



Eastern Smells and Western Noses. 177 

object for his unskilled derision. Grown up, the same 
urchin, exasperated with his neighbour, seizes him by the 
nose. This ill-feeling against the feature admits of little 
explanation, for it seems altogether unreasonable and 
deplorable. It is true that the nose takes up a com- 
manding position on the face, and does not altogether 
fulfil the expectations naturally formed of so prominent 
a member. Vagrant specks of soot settle upon it and 
make it ridiculous. An east wind covers the nose with 
absurdity. It is a fierce light that beats upon a throne, 
and the nose, before assuming a central place, should 
perhaps, remarking the fact, have been better prepared to 
maintain its own dignity. But beyond this, impartial 
criticism cannot blame the feature. On the other hand, 
much can be said in its favour, and if Dr. Jager is right, 
a great future lies before the nose. Lest it should be 
thought I exaggerate the importance of Dr. Jager's dis- 
coveries, I give the learned Professor's own words. 
" Puzzled as to the meaning of the word ' soul ' " says he, 
" I set myself to inquire, and my researches have assured 
me that the seat of the immortal part of man is in his nose. 
All the mind affections are relative to the nasal sensations. 
I have found this out by observing the habits of animals 
in the menagerie, and finding how exquisite was their 
sense of smell, I conceived my great idea, and ex- 
periment has proved me right. So perfect can the 
perceptions by the nose become that I can discover even 
the mental conditions of those around me by smelling 

N 



178 Under the Punkah. 

them, and, more than this, I can, by going into a room, 
tell at once by sniffing whether those who were last in it 
were sad or mirthful. Aroma, is in fact, the essence of 
the soul, and every flavour emitted by the body represents 
a corresponding emotion of the soul. Happiness finds 
expression in a mirthful perfume, sorrow in a doleful one. 
Does not a hungry man on smelling a joint of meat 
at once rejoice ? I myself have been so overcome by the 
scent of a favourite fruit that, under an uncontrollable 
impulse, I have fallen upon them and devoured the 
whole plateful! so powerful is the sense of smell." To 
present the different perfumes accurately and easily to the 
eye, the Professor, when first delivering his lecture, drew 
upon a black-board a number of diagrams showing the 
various curves taken by the scent atoms when striking 
upon the soul-nerves, and explained briefly certain instru- 
ments he had constructed for registering the wave motion 
of smells, and the relative force with which they im- 
pinged upon the nose of his soul or the soul of his nose. 
The audience meanwhile had become restless and 
agitated, and the Professor therefore hurried on to the 
second section of his discoveries those for counteract- 
ing the passions detected by the nose. " I have here," 
he said, " a smell-murdering essence, which I have dis- 
covered and christened Ozogene, and with which I can 
soothe the angry man to mildness or infuriate a quaker." 
But the audience, such is the bigoted antipathy to the 
exaltation of the nose, would not stand this on any 



Eastern Smells and Western Noses. 179 

account, and the Professor, in obedience to the clamour, 
had to resume his seat. 

Dr. Jager did not, therefore, secure a patient hearing, 
but he should remember how at all times the first 
apostles of truth have been received, and live content 
to know that posterity will gravely honour his memory, 
though contemporary man makes fan of his discoveries. 
Indeed, posterity will have good cause to honour the 
great man who shall thus have banished from among 
them strife and anger. The Riot Act will never have to 
be read to an excited populace, since a squirt of perfume 
will suffice to allay their fury. The comic lecturer or 
charity-sermon preacher may assure themselves of the 
sympathy of their audiences, quite apart from the matter 
of their discourse. Science will have new fields opened 
to it, and humanity take a new lease of its pleasures. 
The nose, hitherto held of little more account than the 
chin, will supersede all the other features, and, like 
Cinderella, rise from the kitchen ashes to palace digni- 
ties, developing under the Darwinian theory, into pro- 
boscidian dimensions of extraordinary acuteness. The 
policeman will need no evidence but that of his nose to 
detect the thief, actual or potential, and the judge, un- 
hampered by jury, counsel, or witnesses, will summarily 
dispense a nasal justice. Diplomacy will be purged of 
its obscurities, and statesmen live in a perpetual Palace of 
Truth. Conscious of each other's detective organs, men 
will speak of their fellows honestly, and hypocrisy will 

N 2 



1 80 Under the Punkah. 

cease from society. How will war or crime be able to 
thrive when the first symptom of ill-temper in a Sovereign 
or of ambition in a Minister can be quenched at the will 
of any individual ratepayer ? And thus a universal peace 
will settle upon a sniffing world. 




GAMINS. 




no doubt is a great science, 
but still it is merely an infant a monster baby, 
I confess, but scarcely past the age at which 
Charles Lamb liked sucking-pigs and chimney-sweeps. 
Toddles and Poddies, as readers of Dickens will remem- 
ber, used to go on buccaneering expeditions, but they 
were only across the kitchen-floor, and often ended in 
the fireplace. Anthropology in the same way makes only 
short excursions, and these even are not always marked 
by judgment in direction. At any rate, there can be 
no doubt that anthropology has not as yet paid any 
consideration to the great co-ordinate science of 
" lollipopology " of which one sub-section concerns itself 
with the phenomena of "gamins." 

This subject has perhaps been touched upon in 
ephemeral literature, but it was a mere flirtation, a 
flippant butterfly kind of settling. The intentions were 
not matrimonial ; there was no talk of taking the house 
on a lease. And yet the subject of gamin distribution is 
worthy investigation. Why are there no gamins in India, 
with their street affronts and trivial triumphs ? Pariah 



1 82 Under the Punkah. 

dogs are scarcely an equivalent for these unkempt mor- 
sels of barbarism, these little Ishmaels of our cities. 
What is the reason, then, for their absence ? Can it be 
too hot to turn three wheels a penny ? Surely not ; 
for dust is a bad conductor of heat, and what gamin 
is there pure-minded, a gamin nomine dignus that 
would not rather turn thirty somersaults in a dust-bin 
than three on a pavement ? Why, my " compound :) l 
alone would tempt to an eternity of tumbling. And yet 
no Hindoo of my acquaintance has even offered to stand 
on his head ! Can it be that there is no ready means 
of causing annoyance ? What ! Is there not that same 
dust ? Would not any gamin, unless lost to all sense of 
emulation and self-respect, rejoice in kicking up dust if 
he saw the remotest glimpse of even the chance of 
molesting anybody ? Again, why do not little Hindoos 
throw stones about ? Because there is nothing to throw 
at ? Hah ! Put one vulture down in Islington, and mark 
the instant result. Nothing to throw at ? Mehercule ! 
Any member of a large family will remember the tumul- 
tuous uprising and stair-shaking exit of the junior olive- 
twigs if even a wagtail came into the garden. A cat on 
the lawn was convulsions. Imagine, then, those same im- 
petuous juniors surrounded by blue jays, bee-eaters, and 
grey squirrels ! And yet the young Hindoo sees an easy 
mark for any of the stones lying at his feet, and passes on. 

1 A word of vexed derivation, but meaning in India (and Batavia, I 
believe)the precincts of a dwelling-house; "premises "in fact. P. R. 



Gamins. 183 

Perhaps it is something in the shape of the stones ? The 
argument is plausible, for Indian stones, it is true, are of 
hideous shapes, angular and unprovocative. The fingers 
do not itch to throw them. But European gamins will 
throw brick in scraggy and uncompromising sections, 
tvfarfatif&nd volcanic in appearance, at, when other 
targets fail, a kerbstone. A London gamin would heave 
his grandmother, if he could, at a mongoose. Are 
Hindoos forbidden to throw stones? Perhaps they 
may be, but imagine forbidding a gamin to throw 
stones or forbidding a gamin to do anything ! When 
England sells Gibraltar, it will be time to think of that ; 
or when, as Wendell Holmes says, strawberries grow 
bigger downward through the basket. It is evident, then, 
that none of these are the right reasons, so it only re- 
mains to conclude that Hindoos were not " designed " 
in the beginning for gamins. Boys, they say, are the 
natural enemies of creation, but Young India contra- 
dicts this flat. " Boys will be boys " has stood most 
of us in good stead when brought red-handed before the 
tribune ; yet young India needs no excusings for mis- 
chief. He never does any. He has all the virtues of 
his elders, and none of their vices, for he positively pre- 
fers to behave properly. 

Perhaps as a last resource the absence of gamins in 
India might be accepted as a key to the theory of 
climates, for we know that Nature never wastes. Nature 
is pre-eminently economical. What, then, would have 



1 84 Under the Punkah. 

been the use of giving Bengal ice and snow, since there are 
no gamins to throw it about, or to make slides on pave- 
ments ? 

In England the small boy begins to throw stones as 
soon as he can crawl to one, and continues to do so 
until he takes to gloves, or is taken up by the police ; 
and there are tolerable reasons why he should thus 
indulge himself. Take, for instance, the case of a pass- 
ing train. The boys see the train coming, and a lively 
interest is at once aroused in its approach; the best 
places on the bridge are scrambled for, and the smaller 
children, who cannot climb up for themselves, are hoisted 
on to the parapet and balanced across it on their 
stomachs " to see the train pass." As it comes puffing 
and steaming up, the interest rises into excitement, and 
then, as the engine plunges under the bridge, boils 
over in enthusiasm. How are they to express this emo- 
tion in the few seconds at their disposal ? They must 
be very quick, for the carriages are slipping rapidly past 
one after the other. It is of no use shouting, for the train 
makes more noise than they, and they, unfortunately, 
have no handkerchiefs to wave. But the crisis is acute, 
and something has to be done, and that promptly. 
There is no time to waste in reflection, or the train will 
be gone, and the sudden solitude that will follow will 
be embittered to them by the consciousness of golden 
opportunities lost for ever. They wave their arms like 
wild semaphores, scream inarticulately, and dance up 



Gamins. 185 

and down, but all this is manifestly inadequate. It does 
not rise to the occasion, and they feel that it does not. 
The moment of tumult, with the bridge shaking under 
them, the dense white steam-clouds rushing up at them, 
and the roar of the train in their ears, demands a higher 
expression of their homage, a more glorious tribute from 
their energy. Looking round in despair, they see some 
stones. To grab them up in handfuls is the work of an 
instant, and in the next the missiles are on their way. 
After all, the moment had been almost lost, for the 
guard's van was just emerging from under the bridge, 
as the pebbles came hurtling along after the speeding 
train ; but the youngsters rejoice, and go home gladdened 
that they did not throw in vain, for the guard, hearing 
the pattering upon the roof, looked out to see what was 
the matter and shook his fist at them, and the boys feel 
that they have done their best to celebrate the event, 
that their sacrifice has been accepted, and that they have 
not lived and loved in vain. For it is, undoubtedly, a 
sacrifice that they offer ; a sacrifice to emotions highly 
wrought, to an ecstasy of enthusiasm suddenly over- 
whelming them and as suddenly departing, to the ma- 
jesty of the train and its tumultuous passage. 

Boys do not, it will be noticed, throw stones at pass- 
ing wheelbarrows or at perambulators, or even at cabs. 
Neither the one nor the other excites sufficiently. They 
belong more to their own sphere and their own level in 
life, are viewed subjectively, and seem too commonplace 



1 86 Under the Punkah. 

for extraordinary attentions. The train and the steam- 
boat, however, are abstract ideas, absorbing the human 
beings they carry into their own gigantic entity, so far 
removed from the boys' own lives that they do not fall 
within the pale of ordinary ethics, and have to be viewed 
from a higher objective platform. Besides, the driver 
and guards of the train, being in a hurry, have no time 
to get down and catch the pelters, and therefore it is 
safe to pelt so the boys think. 

Whether magistrates have ever studied, or should 
study, the matter from any other than a police-court 
point of view I should hesitate to affirm. But in the 
ordinary cases where lads fling pebbles at a steam- 
boat or train, their parents are fined, with the option 
of the culprits going to prison, and as the parents no 
doubt always give the urchins their full money's-worth 
in retribution, justice is probably dealt out all round 
fairly enough. The boys, it generally appears, hit "an 
elderly passenger " with one of the stones which they 
throw, and there matters culminate, as the original act 
of stone-throwing, had the missiles struck no one, might 
have passed by as a surviving remnant of some old 
pagan ceremony. 

Indeed, from the very first, the youngsters have had 
bad examples before them ; and if in such matters we 
are to go back to the original offenders, we must confess 
that Deucalion and his wife have much to answer for. 
Their descendants have been throwing stones ever since ; 



Gamins. 1 87 

and, whether in fun or in earnest, in the execution of 
criminal sentences or the performance of religious rites, 
men have never given over pelting each other. What- 
ever part of the world we go into, we find it is the same ; 
for in the wilds of America the Red Indian shies flints 
at his spirit stones ; all over Europe the devil is exorcised 
with stones ; and in Asia, whether it is the Arab pelting 
the Evil One from the sacred precincts of the Holy 
City or the Hindoo dropping pebbles into the valleys of 
enchantment, a similar tendency in race prevails. 

As an instance of the innocent view taken of the 
practice by a distinguished Englishman, De Quincey, 
I would quote the incident of his meeting the king in 
Windsor Park. De Quincey was then a lad, and, walking 
with a young friend, was, he tells us, " theorizing and 
practically commenting on the art of chucking stones. 
Boys," he continues, " have a peculiar contempt for 
female attempts in that way. For, besides that girls 
fling wide of the mark, with a certainty that might have 
won the applause of Galerius, 2 there is a peculiar sling 
and rotary motion of the arm in launching a stone, 
which no girl ever can attain. From ancient practice " 
(note this) " I was somewhat of a proficient in this art, 
and was discussing the philosophy of female failures, 

2 " Sir," said that emperor to a soldier who had missed the target 
in succession I know not how many times (suppose we say fifteen), 
'' allow me to offer my congratulations on the truly admirable skill 
you have shown in keeping clear of the mark. Not to have hit once 
in so many trials, argues the most splendid talents for missing." 



1 88 Under the Punkah. 

illustrating my doctrine with pebbles, as the case happened 
to demand, when " he met the king, and the narrative 
diverges from the subject. 

Nor is stone-throwing without some dignity in its 
traditions, for it has happened probably to many of us 
ourselves, and it has certainly been a custom from time 
immemorial, to take augury more or less momentous 
from this act, and make oracles of our pebbles. Among 
the many cases of this species of divination on record, 
none is more notable than that of Rousseau's, where he 
put the tremendous issues of his future state to the test 
of stone-throwing. " One day," says he, " I was ponder- 
ing over the condition of my soul and the chances of 
future salvation or the reverse, and all the while 
mechanically, as it were, throwing stones at the trunks 
of the trees I passed, and with all my customary dexterity, 
or in other words never hitting one of them. All of 
a sudden the idea flashed into my mind that I would 
take an augury, and thus, if possible, relieve my mental 
anxiety. I said to myself, I will throw this stone at 
that tree opposite. If I hit it, I am to be saved ; if I 
miss it, I am to be damned eternally ! " And he threw 
the stone, and hit it plumb in the middle, "ce qui 
veritablement n'etait pas difficile; car j'avais eu soin de 
choisir un arbre fort gros et fort pres." 

It is very possible, moreover, that the English boy 
throws stones from hereditary instinct ; that he bombards 
the passing locomotives even as in primeval forests the 



Gamins. 1 89 

ancestral ape " shelled " with the cocoanuts of his native 
forests the passing herds of bison. It would therefore 
be rash, without research into the lore of stone-throwing, 
and a better knowledge of the Stone Age, to say that 
the urchin who takes a " cockshy " at a steamboat does 
so purely from criminal instinct ; for it is repeatedly in 
evidence that he takes no aim with his missile at all, 
but simply launches it into space, and, generous and 
trustful as childhood always is, casts his pebbles upon 
the waters in hopes of pleasant though fortuitous re- 
sults. 

Again, as I have already said, there is often no mali- 
cious motive. To pelt the loquacious frog is, in my 
opinion, a cruel act, but the criminality lessens, at least 
to my thinking, if the same stone be thrown at a hippo- 
potamus. Similarly, we might recognize a difference 
between flinging half a brick at an individual stranger 
and throwing it at a mass-meeting or at a nation, or at 
All the Russias ; while, if a boy threw stones at the 
Channel Squadron, he would be simply absurd, and his 
criminality would cease altogether. Where, then, should 
the line be drawn? The boy would rather pelt an 
ironclad than a penny steamboat, for it is a larger and 
nobler object to aim at; but, though he could do 
H.M.S. Devastation no harm, the: police could hardly 
be expected to overlook his conduct. Stone-throwing 
has therefore come to be considered wrong in itself, just 
as the other day a wretched old bear found dancing for 



190 Under the Punkah. 

hire in the streets was astonished to learn from the 
polke magistrate that bears are not permitted to dance 
in England. What his hind legs were given him for 
the quadruped will now be puzzled to guess, and in the 
same way the boy, finding he must not throw them, will 
wonder what stones were made for. 

A very small cause, indeed, may have immense effects ; 
and this holds good with national character as well as 
with natural phenomena, A little stone set rolling from 
the top of the Andes might spread ruin far and wide 
through the valleys at their feet, and the accident of Esau 
being a good marksman has left the Arabs wanderers and 
desert folk to the present day. The English character 
has itself been formed by an aggregation of small causes 
working together, and it will perhaps be found that one 
of the most important of them was the abundance of 
stones that lie about the surface of the ground in England. 
In India the traveller may go a thousand miles in a 
steught Kne, and except where he crosses rivers, will not 
find anything on the ground which he can pick up and 
throw. The Bengali, therefore, cannot throw, and never 
could, for he has never had anything to practise with ; 
and what is his character? Is he not notoriously 
"gentle "and soft-mannered? His dogs are still wild 
beasts, and his wild birds are tame. What can explain this 
better than the absence of stones ? We in England have 
always had plenty of stones, and where the fists could not 
settle quarrels oar rode ancestors had only to stoop to the 



Gamins. 191 

ground for arms ; and it is a mere platitude to say that the 
constant provision of arms makes a people ready to pick 
a quarrel and encourages independence in bearing. From 
the same cause our dogs obey our voices, for the next 
argument they know will be a stone ; while, as for our 
wild birds, let the schoolboys tell us whether they under- 
stand the use of pebbles or not. In Greece the argument 
of the chtrmadion is still a favourite, for the savage dogs 
are still there that will recognize no other, unmindful of 
that disastrous episode in the history of Mycenje, which 
all arose from Hercules' young cousin throwing a paving 
stone at a baying hound. These same boys of ours, 
therefore, have this argument also in their favour, that 
they ore obeying an hereditary instinct, and developing 
the original plan of Nature, when they throw stones. 

I doubt if the police will attend to this. It is better, 
perhaps, they should not, or, at any rate, that they should 
whip the boys first and discuss the instinct afterwards. 
A reformatory, except at Stoney Stratford, for such 
vlers would not, so to speak, be out of place, and a 
penitentiary at Stonehenge would be delightfully ap: 
for the urchins could not throw it about, however much 
they might pine to do so. If exile be not thought too 
harsh for such delinquents, punishment might be pleasantly 
blended with consideration, if our stone-throwing youth 
! banished to Arabia Pctr.va. We would not go 
so tar as to recommend stoning the urchins, for the 
ceremony \vluoh goes by that name was not the p- 



192 Under the Punkah. 

cuous casting of stones at a criminal, as is generally 
supposed. The guilty person, so the Talmud enacts, was 
taken to the top of an eminence of fifteen feet, and 
violently pushed over the edge. The fall generally broke 
his back, but if the executioners, on looking over, found 
their victim was not dead, they fetched one large stone 
and dropped it down from the same eminence upon the 
body. Such a punishment as this would not be suitable 
for the modern offence of pelting trains and steamboats. 
Nevertheless, severity is called for; as, in spite of the 
hereditary and legendary precedent which the gamin of 
the period has for his pastimes, he cannot, even as the 
representative of the primeval ape, be permitted to indulge 
his enthusiasm at the sight of the triumphs of science in 
a manner that endangers " the elderly passenger." 





OF TAILORS. 

j|HAT superstition is hateful, merely because it is 
superstition, is an inhuman doctrine. Yorick 
was superstitious, and so was Martin Luther. 
That a man should hesitate to shoot a raven lest he kill 
King Arthur unawares, can scarcely be held a criminal 
cunctation. Was ever man more superstitious than the 
silly knight of La Mancha, the sweet gentleman who 
loved too well? but did ever the man soil earth who 
hated Don Quixote ? Cervantes, when he limned him, 
might laugh away the chivalry of Spain ; but he did not, 
nor did he wish to, draw a knave. And yet in nothing 
do we find more to hate, with the honest hatred of an 
Esau, than in this same superstition. Heaven-born, it 
has bred with monster fiends. True superstition is re- 
verent, and from it, like orchids from an old tree-trunk, 
spring blossoms of rare beauty. But as the same tree 
feeds noisome fungi, the vampire epiphyte and slab 
lichens, so from the grand old trunk of superstition has 
sprung out a growth of unwholesome fictions. What 
miscreant first said that a tailor was the ninth part, and 
no more, of a man ? By what vile arithmetic did the 
author of the old play arrive at his equation of tailors to 

o 



1 94 Under the Punkah. 

men when he makes his hero, on meeting eighteen of 
them, call out, " Come on, hang it, I'll fight you both ! " 
Why a ninth, and why a tailor ? 

The tailor is the victim of misconstruction. Remem- 
ber George Eliot's story of a man so snuffy that the cat 
happening to pass near him was seized with such a vio- 
lent sternutation as to be cruelly misunderstood ! Let 
Baboo Ishuree Dass say, " Tailors, they are very dis- 
honest ;" he is speaking of natives. Let Burton say, " The 
tailor is a thief;" he was fanciful. And let Urquiza of 
Paita be detested, he was only a half-bred Peruvian. 
Remember the regiment of London tailors ; De Quincy's 
brave journeyman tailor; M. Achille Jules Cesar Le Grand, 
who was so courteous to Marguerite in the Morals of May 
Fair ; the tailor of Yarrow who beat Mr. Tickler at back- 
gammon ; the famous tailor who killed seven at one blow 
and lived to divide a kingdom and to call a queen his 
stepmother. Read " Mouat's Quinquennial Report of 
the Lower Provinces," and learn that the number of 
tailors in prison was less by one-half than that of the 
priests. They were, moreover, the only class that had 
the decency to be incarcerated in round numbers, there- 
by notably facilitating the taking of averages and the 
deduction of most valuable observations. 

Tailors, the ninth part of a man ! Then are all 
^Ethiops " harmless " ? Can no Cretan speak a true 
word, or a Boeotian a wise one ? Are all Italians " blas- 
pheming," and is Egypt " merry " Egypt ? Nature, and 



Of Tailors. 195 

she is no fool, has thought good to reproduce the tailor 
type in bird and insect : then why does man contemn 
the tailor ? Because he sits cross-legged ? Then is 
there not a whole man in Persia. Why should our 
children be taught in the nursery rhyme, how " nine-and- 
twenty tailors went out to kill a snail, but not a single 
one of them dared to touch his tail " ? Or why should the 
world exult over the tailor, whom the elephant, as we 
learn from Mrs. Gurton's " Book of Anecdotes," squirted 
with ditch-water ? We know the elephant to have been 
the aggressor ; but just as we rejoice with Punch over the 
murder of his wife, and the affront he offers to the devil, 
so we applaud the ill-mannered pachyderm. " The ele- 
phant," we read in childhood, "put his trunk into a 
tailor's shop," thrust his nose, some four feet of it, into 
a tailor's house, his castle, writing himself down a gross 
fellow and an impertinent. For the tailor to have said 
" Take your nose out of my shop " would have been tame, 
and on a mammal ill-conditioned enough to go where he 
was not bidden, such temperance would have been 
thrown away. When the Goth pulled the beard of the 
Senator, the Roman struck him down. Did Jupiter argue 
with Ixion, or Mark bandy words with the lover of 
Isolt ? The tailor did not waste his breath, but we read 
" pricked the elephant's nose with a needle." Here the 
story should end. Jove's eagles have met at Delos. But 
no. " The elephant," we are told, " retired to a puddle 
and filled his trunk with water, and, returning to the shop, 
o 2 



196 Under the Punkah. 

s qiiirted it over the tailor." It was sagacious, doubtless, 
to squirt water at the tailor, and to squirt it straight ; but 
such sagacity is no virtue, or the Artful Dodger must be 
held to be virtuous. The triumph of the elephant was 
one of Punch's triumphs Punch, who beats his wife past 
recovery, hangs an intimate friend after stealing his dog, 
and trifles with the devil. Punch the incorrigible homun- 
culus who, fresh from murder (his infant being thrown 
out of window), and with the smell of the brimstone of 
Diavolus still clinging to his frilled coat, complacently 
drums his heels upon the stage and assures his friends in 
front that he has put his enemies to flight. Root-a-too-it ! 
Root-a-too-it ! It is a great villain ; yet the audience roar 
their fat applause. So with the elephant. Yet Mrs. 
Gurton has handed him down to future childhood as a 
marvel of sagacity, to be compared only with that pig 
who tells the time of day on playing-cards ; the cat in 
Wellingtons who made his master Marquis of Carabbas, 
and rose himself to higli honours ; and that ingenious but 
somewhat severe old lady who laboured under the double 
disadvantage of small lodgings and a large family. Of all 
these Mrs. Gurton, in her able work, preserves the worthy 
memories ; but that episode of the high-handed elephant 
and the seemly tailor should have been forgotten irre- 
coverably lost like the hundred and odd volumes of 
Livy, or Tabitha Bramble's reticule in the River Avon. 
But the blame of perpetuation rests not with Mrs. 
Gurton, but with her posterity. They admired the work 



Of Tailors. 197 

and reprinted it, not like Anthon's classics, expurgated, 
but in its noisome entirety. The volume before me is 
now a score years old one year younger than was 
Ulysses' dog, and two years older than Chatterton ; so 
perhaps it may not be reproduced in our generation, 
and the mischievous fable may die out before the growth 
of better reading as the scent of a musk-rat killed over- 
night fades away before the fumes of breakfast. Then 
let us hope, the Tailor the only story which reflects 
contempt on him being abolished will assume his 
proper position between the Angels and the anthropo- 
morphous Apes. 




THE HARA-KIRI. 




HE Hara-Kiri is a universal custom, for there is 
no passion in the mind of man so weak but it 
masters the fear of death. So said Lord Bacon ; 
and he illustrates his text, as also does Burton, in his 
"Anatomy," with many notable examples of revenge 
triumphing over death, love slighting it, honour aspiring to 
it, grief flying to it, fear ignoring it, and even pity, the 
" tenderest of affections," provoking to it. When Otho the 
Emperor committed suicide, many, out of sheer com- 
passion that such a sovereign should have renounced life, 
killed themselves. Indeed it requires no strong passion 
to take the terrors out of death, for we know how frequently 
suicides have left behind them, as the only reason for their 
act, that they were "tired of life," weary, perhaps, of an 
existence monotonous with poverty or sickness, or even 
simply borne down by the mere tedious repetition of 
uneventful days. In spite, however, of the multitude of 
examples which past history and the records of our own 
everyday life afford, that death wears for many of all 
classes and both sexes a by no means fearful aspect, the 
human mind recoils from the prospect of digging, as it 



The Hara-Kiri. 199 

were, one's own grave, and shudders at the thought of 
being the executioner of one's own body. 

Apologists have, however, been found for suicide, not 
only in antiquity, but in modern days ; some, like Dr. 
Donne, claiming for the act the same degrees of culpability 
that the law attaches to homicide, others founding their 
pleas on the ground that Holy Writ nowhere condemns 
the crime, and one profanely arguing that his life is a 
man's own to do with as he will. Goethe may be called 
an apologist for suicide, and so may all those' historians 
or novelists who make their heroes " die nobly " by their 
own hands ; and De Quincey himself seems to have been 
at one time inclined to excuse under certain circumstances 
the act of " spontaneous martyrdom." 

Pity at first carries away the feelings of the sympathetic, 
but there are few healthy minds to which, on the second 
thought, does not come the reflection that suicide is, 
after all, an insult to human nature, and, for all its 
pathos, cowardly. There are, indeed, circumstances, 
such, for instance, as hideous, incurable disease, that tend 
to soften the public verdict upon the unhappy wretch 
who, in taking his own life, had otherwise committed a 
crime against humanity, and played a traitor's part to all 
that is most noble in man. But these, as actually 
resulting in suicide, are very exceptional and infrequent. 
In most cases life is thrown away impatiently and 
peevishly, a sudden impulse of remorse or grief nerving 
the victim to forget how grand life really is, with its 



2OO L/nder the Punkah. 

earnest aims and hearty work, and how bright it is with 
its everyday home affections and its cheerful hopes of 
better things and better times. Our courts of law 
generalize such impulses under the term " temporary 
insanity," and the world accepts the term as a satisfactory 
one, for it is not human to believe that a sane person 
would under any circumstances throw up life. Races, 
our own notably, conspicuous wherever found in the 
earth for their active, hearty, healthful pursuit of work 
or pleasure, refuse to believe that any but the mad, 
whether permanently or for the time only, would wil- 
fully cut short their life's interests, and exchange sun- 
light and manly labour, all the ups and downs that make 
men brave and hopeful, for the gloomy ignominy of a 
premature grave. " Above all," says Lord Bacon, 
" believe it, the sweetest canticle is ' Nunc Dimittis, 
when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expecta- 
tions ; " but death in the prime of life, " Finis " written 
before half the pages of the book had been turned, 
must always present itself to the courageous, cheerful 
mind as the most terrible of catastrophes. 

In its most terrible form, the Hara-kiri is of course a 
Japanese evil ; but suicide, alas ! is not peculiar to any 
one country or people. In the manner in which they 
view it, nations differ the Hindoo, for instance, con- 
templates it with apathy, the savage of the Congo with 
pride, the Japanese with a stern sense of a grave duty, 
the Englishman with horror and pity but the crime has 



The Hara-Kiri. 201 

its roots in all soils alike, and flourishes under all skies. 
But that really grand system of legalized self-murder 
which was for ages the privilege of all who felt wounded in 
their honour, gives the Japanese a horrible pre-eminence 
in the Hara-kiri, and crime though we call it, there 
was much to admire in the stately heroism of those 
orderly suicides, notable for their fine appreciation of 
the dignity of Death, their reverent courtesy to his awful 
terrors, and sublime scorn for pain of body. From their 
infancy they looked forward to suicide as a terrible 
probability, the great event for which through the in- 
tervening years they had to prepare themselves. They 
learned by heart all the nice etiquette of the Hara-kiri : 
how they must do this, not that, stab themselves from 
left to right, and not from right to left. Strangely 
fascinating, indeed, are the Tales of Old Japan, and among 
them most terrible is the account of " the honourable 
institution of the Hara-kiri." I will try to describe it, 
keeping as well as I can the tone of Japanese thought : 

In the days of Ashikaga the Shiogun, when Japan was 
vexed by a civil war, and prisoners of high rank were 
every day being put to shameful deaths, was instituted 
the ceremonious and honourable mode of suicide by 
disembowelling, known as Seppuku or Hara-kiri, an 
institution for which, as the old Japanese historian says, 
" men in all truth should be very grateful. To put his 
enemy, against whom he has cause for enmity, to death, 



202 Under the Punkah. 

and then to disembowel himself, is the duty of every 
Samurai." 

Are you a Daimio or a Hatamoto, or one of the 
higher retainers of the Shiogun, it is your proud 
privilege to commit suicide within the precincts of the 
palace. If you are of an inferior rank, you may do it in 
the palace garden. Everything has been made ready for 
you. The white-wanded enclosure is marked out ; the 
curtain is stretched; the white cloth with the soft crimson 
mats piled on it is spread ; the long wooden candlesticks 
hold lighted tapers ; the paper lanterns throw a faint light 
around. Behind yon paper screen lies hidden the tray 
with the fatal knife, the bucket to hold your head, the 
incense-burner to conceal the raw smell of blood, and 
the basin of warm water to cleanse the spot. With tender 
care has been spread the matting on which you will walk 
to the spot, so that you need not wear your sandals. 
Some men when on their way to disembowel themselves 
suffer from nervousness, so that the sandals are liable to 
catch in the matting and trip them up. This would not look 
well in a brave man, so the matting is smoothly stretched. 
Indeed it is almost a pleasure to walk on it. . 

Your friends have come in by the gate Umbammon, 
" the door of the warm basin," and are waiting in their 
hempen dresses of ceremony to assist you to die like a 
man. You must die as quickly too as possible, and your 
friends will be at your elbow to see that you do not dis- 
grace yourself and them by fumbling with the knife, or 



The Hara-Kiri. 203 

stabbing yourself with too feeble L a thrust. They have 
made sure that no such mishap shall befall. They will 
be tenderly compassionate, but terribly stern. They will 
guard you while your dying declaration is being read ; if 
you are fainting, they will support you, lest your enemies 
should say you were afraid of death. But do not trust to 
your old friendship with those around you ; do not try to 
break away from the sound of those clearly spoken 
sentences ; for if you do, your friends will knock you 
down, and while you are grovelling on the mats, will hew 
your head off with their heavy-handled swords. They 
will hold you down and stab you to death. Remember 
this -you are to die, but you will not be allowed to disgrace 
yourself. 

You are here an honoured guest. The preparations 
for your death are worthy of a Mikado. But you 
must not presume upon the courtesy shown you. It is 
merely one-half of a contract, the other being that you 
shall die like a Samurai. If you shirk your share of the 
contract, your friends will break theirs, and will strike 
you to the earth like the coward you are. 

See, the tapers are lit ! Are you quite ready to die ? 
Then take your way along that spotless carpet. It will 
lead you to the " door of the practice of virtue." Yours 
is the place of honour on the piled rugs in the centre 
of your friends. How keenly they fix their eyes upon 
you. It is their duty to see that you are dead before 
those tapers are out. Those tapers cannot last another 



2O4 Under the Punkah. 

fifteen minutes. Be seated. Here is your old school- 
mate, Kotsuke, coming to you with the dreadful tray. 
How sternly his lips are closed ! You must not speak 
to him. Stretch out your hand to the glittering 'knife. 
Behind you, your relatives are baring their strong arms. 
You cannot see them, but they are there, and their heavy- 
handled swords are poised above you. Stretch out 
your hand. Why hesitate ? You must take the knife. 
Have you it firmly in your grasp ? Then strike ! Deep 
to the handle, let the keen blade sink wait a minute 
with the knife in the wound that all your friends as- 
sembled in the theatre before you may see it is really 
there now draw it across your body to the right side 
turn the broad blade in the wound, and now trail it 
slowly upwards. 

Are you sickening with pain ? ah ! your head droops 
forward, a groan is struggling through the clenched 
teeth, when swift upon the bending neck descends the 
merciful sword of a friend ! 

A Samurai must not be heard to groan from pain. 

How different from the respectful applause that greets 
the Japanese self-murderer is the first sentiment of 
healthy aversion that is aroused in English men and 
women by the news of a suicide. It is true that some- 
times, at the first glance, the preceding circumstances 
compel our scorn or provoke us into only a disdainful 
commiseration with the victim, but pity is sure to follow. 
For the Hara-kiri is always pathetic ; 'and if the suicide 



The Hara-Kin. 205 

be a woman, how tenderly the feeling of pity is 
intensified ! 

Take such a case, for instance, as that of Mary Aird. 
Happily married, and a loving mother, she yet threw her 
young life away in a sudden impulse of groundless 
apprehension for the future. 

Mary Aird's letter, in which she announced to her 
husband her dreadful intention, hardly reads like a 
suicide's last word to those she loved best; and the 
miserably inadequate reason she gives for putting an end 
to her life makes the sad document intensely pathetic. 
" Do not think hardly of me, Will, when I tell you I am 
going to throw myself over Westminster Bridge. Look 
after our two poor little children, ' Pop ' and George, and 
tell Bessie I want her to look after them for you. Cheer 
up, dear Will ; you will get on better without me. There 
will be one trouble less. God bless you ! " Such a 
letter as that, had that been all, would have gone far to 
prove what some have asserted, that suicides are not 
of necessity, and from the fact alone, insane. But there 
was a saving sentence. The poor woman feared she 
could never meet her household expenses, because a 
pitiful debt of six shillings had " thrown out her accounts 
for the week. Moreover," said she, " troubles are 
coming." There really were no greater troubles than all 
mothers look forward to with hope and back upon with 
pride. Yet Mary Aird was dismayed for the moment at 
the thought of them, and seeing before her so easy a path 



206 Under the Punkah. 

to instant and never-ending rest, carried with her to the 
grave the infant that would soon have owed her the sweet 
debt of life. 

It is impossible, being human, for any to read the 
brief story without feeling the tenderest pity for the poor 
sister, wearied all of a sudden of this working world, 
fainting under the burden, as she supposed it, of excep- 
tional, insurmountable misfortunes. Had any one met 
her on her way to death, and, knowing her case, offered 
her six shillings, she might have perhaps turned back, 
and been now the happy wife and happy mother that 
she was. She had her secret, however, hidden deep 
away in her heart the secret that, by her own death, 
she would (as she thought) release those she loved 
best from many of the troubles of life the secret that 
her duty to husband and children, the " poor little children 
Pop and George," called upon her for the instant sacrifice 
of her life ! In other forms the same unhesitating 
resignation of life presents itself to us as heroism of a 
grand type ; but in the piteously small scale of the 
surrounding circumstances, and even the familiarity of the 
nature of the death, the grandeur of such a sacrifice is 
lost, and we feel only pity for the unhappy creature thus 
needlessly exchanging her bright home for the grave. 
False sentiment tempts men often to magnify the bravery 
of self-inflicted death, forgetting that the insanity which 
makes suicide so pitiful robs it also of all that commands 
admiration. In itself the crime is detestable, not only 



The Hara-Kiri. 207 

as high treason against the Creator, inasmuch as, to quote 
the main argument of the Pagan moralists, we betray at 
the first summons of danger the life it was given us to 
guard, but also as profaning the nobility of our nature. 
Man is born with the strong instinct of living, and, as 
happy, careless childhood is left behind, serious and 
tender interests grow round the individual life, each of 
which makes it a more precious possession, and, by 
admitting others to share in its troubles and joys, 
robs the owner of all claim to dispose of it as if it were 
his own, undivided and intact. In death itself there is 
nothing for hopeful and helpful men and women, the 
workers of the world, to be afraid of " Men fear death 
as children fear to go in the dark, and with as much 
reason." But this manly disregard of superstitious terrors 
should not degenerate into the holding of life cheap, 
nor, under the sudden pressure of unusual circumstances, 
make us lose sight of that bright star of hope which, if 
we will only look ahead, shines always over "to- 
morrow." 

To some races such hopeful prospects seem impossible, 
and, in the East especially, the first summons of the 
enemy finds the garrison ready to yield. This frequency 
of suicide, however, and the general indifference to the 
crime as a crime, are among the surest signs of inferiority. 
All savage tribes, and even some of the nations of the 
East, though more advanced in civilization, fly to death 
as the first resource in trouble. They seek the relief of 



208 Under the Punkah. 

the grave before having sought any other. But the 
circumstances of their lives, with religion or superstition 
teaching them that fate predestines everything, and 
magnifying the most trivial occurrences into calamities 
from which there is no appeal, often surround their 
deaths with incidents so picturesque and quaint that they 
deceive the judgment, and exalt the paltry suicide into 
an heroic surrender of life. 

Such a one is, perhaps, that student's death up in 
"the cloudy wilderness within Blencathara." He had to 
leave college to go into a trade that was hateful to him ; 
but rather than live apart from his books, he climbed one 
morning up to the misty heights, taking with him his 
^Eschylus, Apollonius, and Caesar, and having read them 
till daylight failed, made a last pillow for his head of 
the three volumes, and took a fatal dose of laudanum. 
Some again, by the terrible blackness of the clouds that had 
gathered over life, seem almost excused, as the crime of 
Jocasta against herself, or the death of Nero ; while others 
like those of Dr. Brown, who had prognosticated the 
ruin of England and was so mortified by the brilliant 
successes of the Pitt administration that he cut his throat, 
and the Colonel in Dr. Darwin's " Zoonomia," who blew 
his brains out because he could not eat muffins without 
suffering from indigestion tend to the positively ludicrous. 
We are thus often betrayed, from one cause or another, 
into forgetting for the moment that the act of suicide is 
really only one of impatience with the crosses of life, and 



The Hara-Kiri. 209 

a confession of defeat. Immeasurably sad it often is, as 
in the case of Mary Aird ; but in spite of the pathos 
surrounding the unhappy incident I have selected as 
typically pathetic, it is better to look at it gravely. We 
would, of course, far rather see in it only a young mother 
sacrificing her dearest treasures, life and the love of 
husband and child, under the delusion that her death 
was for their benefit; but we are compelled to see in it 
much more than that. Lurking under the delusion lies 
the faint-hearted apprehension that " to-morrow " would 
be, and must be, just the same as " to-day/' a fear of the 
the future that underlies every wilful suicide, and is at 
once the most disastrous and deplorable frame of the 
human mind. If troubles are ahead, the more need for, 
the more honour in, a resolute hold on life. Our race 
does not readily yield to despair, and every suicide among 
us, even though it be a woman's, takes something there- 
fore from our national character ; and, in spite of an 
unavoidable feeling of sincerest pity for those who reckon 
death among the boons of nature, we ought to condemn 
with all our hearts the ignoble abandonment of life by 
those amongst us who have not the courage to wait and 
see if to-morrow will not cure to-day. 



ISTE PUER. 




ANY creatures claim to be the best abused, but 
I would pass them all by, whether spiders or 
oldest inhabitants, earwigs or police con- 
stables, and award that title to the boy the " soaring, 
human boy" as Chadband puts it. A writer aiming 
rather at terseness than accuracy, has called the boy " the 
enemy of creation," but I would rather read it as " the 
envy of creation." 

Every child, I take it, is a pet of Nature's, but among 
them the boy child is her favourite. There is no favour 
she withholds from him, and his only defects are of those 
things which will come upon him all too soon, and which 
acquired will but embitter his life. The boy, it is true, 
has no experience ; but who would not rather be ignorant 
of the taste of the Dead Sea fruit ? Again, he has no 
ballast, but surely then all the more conspicuous is 
Nature's custody of him ! What other charges can be 
laid against him? That he is young is hardly a crime; 
and being young, if he possesses the attributes of youth, 
he is hardly to blame. 



Iste Puer. 2 1 1 

" The boy is a thief? " Yes, but of what ? He will 
steal apples from an orchard, although a farmer with his 
dog keeps guard. Every rookery must pay him tribute of 
its eggs, and every garden of its gooseberries. But hear 
him relate his exploit ! There is none of the shame- 
facedness of a thief in his narration. He glories in the 
larceny, and when he can add assault to the lesser crime 
(he has pelted the lawful owner with his own fruit), his 
achievement becomes a triumph. And not to him only 
but to all his schoolfellows, who burn henceforth to 
emulate his deed of high emprise. The narrative of such 
a theft gives fresh blood even to the law-respecting 
adult. First, the lad tells of the stealthy approach in 
the distance the farmer disappearing then of the paling 
with hooked nails atop, on which, with puncturings of 
the flesh, the trouser was torn, and then the Red- 
Indian-like entrance to the orchard. The climbing up 
the trees the handling of the great round fruit the 
encounter, in returning, with the labourer who would 
capture him but is discomfited the homeward flight 
across the turnip-field the pursuit among the sheep 
hurdles the final escape ! And all this told by one 
ruddy-faced, clear-eyed lad sitting munching, among a 
munching circle, one of the forbidden fruit, while to each 
episode the merry music of real laughter lends its ap- 
plause, and fired by the narration others plan a like 
adventure for the morrow. Surely, none of these boys 
are thieves ? Why, let one of their number to-morrow 
p 2 



212 Under the Punkah , 

" steal like a thief" and the orchard-robber of yester- 
day, the owner of many stolen rook's eggs, and he with 
his pocket still full of pilfered gooseberries, will kick 
him and call him " thief ! " Is there in this difference 
anything more than sentiment ? 

" The boy is untruthful." Now, it is well known in 
public schools and where the master is of a mean kind 
the knowledge is basely utilized that to detect a culprit 
there is no surer means than to ask those suspected, 
" Did you do it ? " If one of them did it, he says " Yes." 
His schoolfellows know he did it, and before them he 
is ashamed to lie, and having this honest shame he has 
no claim to the brand of untruthful. In a school of 
good tone a boy who had lied, who had made a false 
declaration to save himself from punishment, is con- 
sidered below good-fellowship ; and when a boy is scouted 
among his fellows, he seldom remains among them long. 
At each reassembling of the school, now one and now 
another of these outcasts is found to have disappeared, 
and no one regrets the disappearance. For the boy, in 
punishment and in hate, is very severe, often visiting with 
great cruelty a single slip. Yet he is not unfair, for 
the backslider seldom appears in after-life as a popular 
man, or respected in his profession. The black sheep 
of school, when found out, seldom rise again, and when 
heard of afterwards it is generally in the company of black 
sheep. 

" The boy is a glutton." Well, what of that ? So are 



Iste Piter. 213 

half the grown-up men in the world. The only differ- 
ence in their gluttony is, that the boy's stomach has not 
by sad experience taught him caution, drawn out for him 
in clear black and white its tabulary statement of likes and 
dislikes. The voracity of a boy at a picnic is, it is true, 
supernatural and awful to contemplate, but it does no 
one harm. The misdemeanour of over-eating is an in- 
nocent one in youth, and, if the truth must be told, the 
contempt for congruities which the boy reveals in his 
confused feeding is very enviable to us whose ilia 
demand a seemly regularity in quantity and quality. I 
have seen a boy on Christmas Eve eating oysters, and 
while waiting for the next one to be prepared with 
vinegar and condiments, occupying himself with a mince 
pie ! I confess to having been aghast at the frightful 
spectacle, but that boy has grown into a very fine young 
hussar, and I would not remember that early exploit 
against him unkindly. Nor is it only on the good things 
of life that a boy will debauch, for he will make merry 
over very frugal fare. Watch him on a holiday ramble 
and he is eating half the time. The nut and bramble 
yield him sustenance, the rose-bush gives up to him 
her bright berries, the hawthorn its coral bunches, 
and the crab-apple its wrinkled fruit. In early Spring 
he eats the tender sprouts of the white-thorn, and 
calls it "bread and cheese;" in Summer he finds 
"buns" in the calix of the thistle; and in Autumn 
startles the wood-pigeons from beneath the beech-trees 



2 1 4 Under the Punkah. 

in his search for "mast." The streamlets give him water- 
cresses, and the thicket the acid sorrel and the pignut. 
Not content with the store of wild strawberries, rasp- 
berries, gooseberries, currants, bilberries, chestnuts, 
cranberries, and wild cherries (for all these grow wild 
in different parts of England), he lays under toll the sloe, 
and even, crede experto, rifles the dewberry, the yew, and 
the honey-suckle. He will rob a squirrel to roast its 
hoard of acorns. And on this wild feeding has been 
founded the charge against the boy of being " nasty ! " 
Yet we would not undertake to decide which is the 
nastier feeder, the boy who divides his hazel-nuts with 
the dormouse, and the fruits of hedge and copse with the 
finches, or the man who bolts the green fat of tortoises, 
feasts on carrion-fed prawns, keeps his cheese till it jumps, 
and his grouse till it can be heard smelling all over the 
house. For myself I confess I prefer the latter diet 
immensely, but small lads at school would, for a great 
green apple, barter away a slice of the ripest Stilton, 
and forego a basin of alderman's soup for the looting of 
a neighbour's filbert-bush. 

" The boy is dirty." I allow willingly that he pro- 
tests against cold water on winter mornings, and that 
in his rambles he accumulates mud on his clothes 
with an extraordinary diligence. But his elders prac- 
tically protest against cold water on cold mornings by 
seldom or never using it cold, and as for the mud, 
that is the fault of the mud ; for I deny that any boy 



Iste Pucr. 2 1 5 

absolutely prefers to have pounds of clay on his boots, 
stuffing up the lace-holes and making running weari- 
some. Mud-pies I do not hold with, considering them 
altogether abominable, but the boy of whom I am 
speaking is beyond the years for which such cates have 
attraction, and has arrived at a period of life when, if 
he had his way, he would as certainly abolish mud as 
Latin Grammars. At the same time, I confess that 
cleanliness is a matter of some indifference to him ; not 
but that he might prefer the green on tree-trunks not 
coming off on his clothes, but the knowledge that it will 
certainly come off does not make him hesitate to climb 
a mouldy fir-tree on the trivial pretence of investigating 
the contents of a manifestly-ancient wood-pigeon's nest. 
He arrives on the ground again with the front of his 
waistcoat green with the mould, and with a hole in 
his trousers, but he knows that " some one " will brush 
and mend his apparel, so he confines his regrets to the 
fact of the nest having been empty of eggs. 

"The boy is mischievous." This cannot be denied. 
But in how many cases does not the mischief arise from a 
laudable spirit of inquiry ? How was he to foresee when 
he wished to test his powers of throwing a stone that the 
accursed pebble would drop on the old gentleman who 
happened to be on the other side of the wall ; or when 
he set his dog at a cat, " to see if it could catch it," by 
what process of argument was he to know that the cat 
and its pursuer would run through a cucumber frame 



216 Under the Punkah. 

into the dairy ? And is not hunting a cat natural to an 
English boy ? He will hunt a cat when he is a boy as 
certainly as he will hunt a fox when he is a man. At 
the same time, he would as soon in his youth worry a 
kitten as in his manhood he would shoot a vixen. Stone 
a cock or pelt a gander ? of course he will ! But he 
will not lift a rude hand to a chicken, or bully a gosling. 
And this is chivalry undeveloped. Cruel as boys are 
(and for their cruelty the Ana made of them their soldiers, 
turnkeys, and executioners) they are wonderfully full of 
compassion. 

"Therefore he deserves all he gets." This is gene- 
rally a whipping. Now I deny the inference, for I have 
denied the validity of all the premises. If I were a 
modern boy, in these radically reforming times, I 
would organize a general strike against corporal punish- 
ment, and support the appeal by numerous citations 
from authority as to the dignity of boyhood from 
Demosthenes' tribute to the reverence due to youth to 
Wordsworth's affidavit (whatever it may mean) that " the 
boy is the father of the man." At any rate, it seems to 
me, the distinctive feature of this period of life, is 
popularly supposed to be that it is a whippable age, but 
this is really, if looked into, only a superstition, an old- 
world tradition, a musty, fusty fragment of antiquated 
wisdom. For what is the great principle of co-operation 
worth, if it may not be impartially extended and 
what is to prevent boys extending it to corporal punish- 



hte Puer. 217 

merit, by securing for their service the persons of other 
boys to be vicariously whipped ? 

High-class schools might, indeed, do well, for the 
greater contentment of their pupils, to imitate the Chinese 
system of vicarious punishment. The matter is, at any 
rate, worth the schoolboy's consideration, for there is no 
doubt that such a system tends to an economy of the 
outer cuticle and the evasion of many disagreeable sen- 
ations arising from pudding withheld or birch applied. 
Landladies thus find a cat useful. 

In China, when juvenile royalty, for instance, has to 
be taught, the tutor is bound to provide for him an 
assortment of classmates, eight in number, and it is upon 
these, whenever the Prince fails in his lessons, that the 
rod falls. Upon his pupils entering the room the tutor 
rises from his chair as a sign of respect an excellent 
custom, which schoolboys would do well to see intro- 
duced at once into the country and when all have 
taken their seats he resumes his own. The Prince then 
receives his book, and is shown his task, which he at 
once commences to get off by heart. The allotted time 
having expired, he attempts to repeat it, and should he 
fail, the tutor immediately falls, with the utmost fury, 
rod in hand, upon the rest of the class, and thumps 
them soundly. Meanwhile, the Prince, for decency's 
sake, goes through the pantomime of excessive suffering, 
permitting himself to recover his equanimity only after 
the yells of his classmates have ceased. 



2 1 8 Under the Pttnkak. 

There is something very delightful to contemplate in 
this proceeding; and in the present age, when money 
appears to be capable of buying anything and everything, 
there is no reason why cur "golden youth" should not 
go up to the public schools with regular stipendiary 
" duppel gangers,'"' to receive the punishment they have 
themselves merited. During class-time these mercenary 
and pachydermatous doubles might either remain con- 
veniently huddled up under the forms or wait outside 
the door and be called in as the conduct of each of their 
principals required. Boys of fine sensibility might thus 
suffer acutely while the cane descended upon toughened 
integuments more suited to flagellation than their own 
delicate membranes, nurtured, it may be, under the 
purple. On the other hand, if little lords had thick skins 
of their own, the difference between thrashing them and 
beating a paid substitute would really be very small 
indeed, so that in either case justice would be met, and 
an enormous source of emolument be opened up to the 
lower classes. For a poor boy, studiously inclined, 
might, at the expense of an occasional whipping to 
which, by the way, no disgrace beyond that of poverty 
would attach enjoy all the advantages of the schools 
and private classes originally intended for his idle 
patron, and thus he might qualify himself for positions in 
life from which he is at present excluded. For middle- 
class schools, where the pupils are compelled to work 
hard in order to fit themselves to follow "the profes- 



Iste Piter. 219 

sions," a cheaper system might be introduced, and a 
whole class might combine to keep on hand one " whip- 
ping-boy " among them. Such a boy would, no doubt, 
be most economically obtained through the medium of 
the Co-operative Stores, a reduction being of course 
always allowed if a number were taken. 

This glimpse of the school life of little Chinaboys 
which I apprehend to be the proper abbreviation for 
Chinamen must not, however, mislead our young 
school-goers into the error of supposing that in Pekin 
everything disagreeable is done vicariously. It is impos- 
sible, for instance, on a cold morning for any one to 
wash his own face by simply watching another boy wash- 
ing his, and in China face-washing is rigorously insisted 
upon, and under circumstances, too, that make it 
exceptionally galling. The Chinaboy has to be out of 
bed very early indeed so early, in fact, that he might 
really just as well get up over night. This, again, leads 
to another evil, for if he were to get up over night, he 
could, of course, have no sleep at all, so the Chinese 
parent, to obviate this, sends youth to bed at sunset. 
The Emperor himself, when juvenile, has to go to bed 
by daylight, and to be up at his lessons at three in the 
morning, so that, if English youth really hopes to profit 
by a change of system, it must be careful to engraft only 
certain advantageous passages of the Chinese method 
upon our own, and not to introduce it entire. How, for 
instance, would they like the whole of their day to be taken 



220 Under the Punkah. 

up, from three in the morning to bedtime, say five in the 
afternoon, with committing lessons to memory and 
monotonous athletics, having to go regularly all day long 
from the school-room to the gymnasium, and from the 
gymnasium back to the school-room twenty lines by 
heart and a turn over the parallel bars, twenty lines more 
and then a hundred yards flat race, twenty lines more 
and then a good thumping with boxing-gloves and so 
on for fifteen hours. This, however, is what China- 
boys have to submit to vicariously. At intervals, cer- 
tain portions of sustaining food would be weighed out 
and administered to each pupil, individual tastes being 
carefully ignored on principle, and no differences of 
consuming power considered the real students being 
meanwhile in their " studies," and " tucking in " to their 
hearts' content on whatever they could afford to order 
rats, puppy dogs, and snails, or anything else that is 
delicious and expensive. But, though I doubt if, on the 
whole, our public school boys would prefer the Chinese 
to the English system of education, yet the whipping 
boy is a special feature for which even young Eton and 
Rugby must entertain in their heart of hearts a certain 
appreciative regard. 

Nevertheless, the excellent habits inculcated by the 
method hinted at above have a remarkable effect in 
after-life, when the Chinaboys have become Chinamen. 
Face washing continues to be habitual among them, and 
this, too, at the same unnatural hours that made school- 



Iste Puer. 221 

days so absurdly long at one end, and so ridiculously 
short at the other. From the lowest to the highest early 
rising is the rule, and if our Prime Minister were to go, 
as he does in China, to Windsor every morning at half- 
past two, he would expect to find her Majesty sitting up 
in a chair ready to receive him. All the Cabinet would 
have to accompany him, and at three a.m. the business 
of the Empire would come under discussion. Meals 
would be served up regularly from the imperial pantry ; 
but, except for these intervals of diversion, all would 
remain on duty until four p.m. on ordinary days, and six 
on those set apart for special business. After these 
hours the Cabinet would be at liberty to spend their time 
as they chose remembering only that they had to be 
back at the palace by half-past two next morning. Such 
is the official programme of a Chinese Minister's life 
when all goes well, but if, for instance, an ironclad were 
to be run down, accidentally torpedoed, or suffer from an 
explosion, the First Lord of the Admiralty would imme- 
diately be called upon to submit in person to the punish- 
ment which, in this country, would fall to very inferior 
officials and he would do it vicariously. For the 
whipping-boy would again intervene, and instead of the 
First Lord being actually beaten with a bamboo, he 
would provide, at his own expense, certain needy sub- 
stitutes, upon whom the law would wreak its vengeance. 
He would at the same time submit a report to her 
Majesty, stating that as he had himself rammed, tor- 



222 Under the Punkah. 

pedoed, or exploded one of her Majesty's ships com- 
mitted to his care, he himself, in like manner, had 
received, according to law, one hundred and fifty blows 
of the greater bamboo, and two hundred and seventy 
from the lesser bamboo, besides having sat in the 
" cangue," in a public place, exposed to popular derision 
and the intolerable affronts of street boys, for three con- 
secutive days. All the time that he was enduring these 
grievous punishments the First Lord would, of course, 
be, as usual, sitting comfortably in the reception-room at 
Windsor, receiving his meals from the royal pantry, and 
transacting the business of the State. But the decencies 
would have been preserved by the perpetuation of this 
elaborate fiction, and the vicarious offender would have 
been vicariously punished, his own confession of his 
personal offence, as also of his personal punishment, 
being published in the Gazette, for all China to see 
how rigorously the laws of the empire were enforced. 

Chinese justice, from the school-room to the Cabinet, 
is, however, equally a fiction, and the demoralizing 
influence of the whipping-boy is manifest throughout. 
Accustomed at school to hear another child howl for 
offences he has himself committed, the boy grows up to 
manhood relying continually upon a substitute being at 
hand to smart for his crimes. This being the case, it is 
as well perhaps to remind the schoolmasters of the pre- 
sent generation that if their pupils should agitate for the 
introduction of vicarious punishment, their duty to the 



Iste Puer. 



223 



country would require of them to oppose the innovation. 
So long as our boys take their own whippings, they have 
a chance of growing up Englishmen, but if they adopt 
the lodging-house-cat system of the Chinaboys, we may 
expect them to turn out only Chinamen. 






DEATH, THE DAUGHTER OF MERCY. 

SHOOTING trip in the Kirwee jungles had 
laid me on my back, and when the long illness 
which followed the fever had relaxed its grip, 
I was weakened beyond words, and had worn out the 
hope of all, even of the wife to whom I had been married 
hardly a year. At times even I myself thought I must 
be dying. I was in no pain, but was dying from the 
simple want of strength to live, and in my weakness a 
phantasm, the Angel of Death, was a terror to me. 

And one day I was asleep, and into my dreams had 
carried with me my waking thoughts of Death. 

" Why do you tremble so ? " asked a gentle voice in 
my ear. 

I turned towards the speaker, and knew at once it was 
Hope. She put her arm under my head, " Why do you 
tremble so ? " 

" Because," I whispered, " I am afraid of death." 

" Death," spoke Hope in my ear, " is the daughter of 
Mercy." 

" Can so cruel, so hateful, a thing be a woman ?" I asked 
in surprise. 



Death, the Daughter of Mercy. 225 

" Yes, and she is most beautiful," was the soft reply. 
" In heaven we all love her and pity her." 

" You pity death ? We on earth hate death, and fight 
against it; I myself am terrified at death." 

" Come with me," said Hope, " and you shall see 
and tell your friends, when you get well, why it is that we 
in heaven love the sad daughter of Mercy." 

And so I went up with Hope on the night- wind to 
heaven. And as we passed along the Milky Way, the 
bright highroad of the sky, we saw stars below our feet, 
on either hand and above us, not as we see them from 
the earth dotted here and there, but hanging about in 
great clusters, and in places the clusters swung so close 
together, that they made a common radiance, while round 
and over them floated large nebulous brightnesses made 
up, it seemed, of powdered stars. Yet bright above all 
showed the close-starred Milky Way slabbed with light. 
And as we sped along, my companion began to speak. 

" The Thalaba is not the most beautiful among us, nor 
indeed the most lovable, but she is the grandest and the 
saddest of us all " 

" But you must be very beautiful," I said. 

"Am I?" asked Hope, turning her face full towards 
me, and going on 

" On earth you have much that is beautiful in death, 
Sorrow, and Resignation, and Pity are all more beauti- 
ful," said Hope, " than I." 

And Hope I then saw was not so very beautiful. It 

Q 



226 Under the Punkah. 

was, for an Angel, a very human face, with a woman's depth 
of hope and love in the eyes, it is true, but with a woman's 
tender weakness in the lips and smile. And just then I 
saw coming towards us a child-angel, a poor haggard- 
looking waif. Its eyes were deep sunken and despairing. 
And to my surprise Hope turned off to it, and caught it up 
in her great arms, kissed it, and put it down again. And 
with one sad look the little one passed on down to the 
earth. Hope, I remembered, is the mother of Disap- 
pointment. 

" Am I so very beautiful ? " asked Hope again. 

" I had thought," said I, " you were more beautiful," 
and so we passed on into the great space beyond the stars 
and where the sun is sphered a void in which there 
is nothing, net even ether. 

" Look ! " said Hope, " there is Death on her way up 
to heaven, to give in her tale to the Greater Angel." 

And I looked where Hope was pointing. It was away 
towards the East that, swiftly nearing the lowering floor- 
clouds of heaven, I saw the Angel of Death winging a 
burdened flight. The comparison is, I know, ignoble, 
but in the slow-measured beat of those great pinions, I 
remembered how once I saw a lammergeyer on the 
Himalayas working its way up the steep sky with laboured 
wing, to the cranny far up the naked rock where were hid 
its callow young. And with the same slow sweep of the 
wings did Death pass up the sky, and we followed her, 
and saw the great Angel enter Heaven, seating herself 



Death, tJie DaugJiter of Mercy. 227 

upon the dais of the Archangels. And then I saw what 
a glorious beauty was hers and what a weight of sorrow 
was enthroned upon her brow ! A world of Rachels could 
not have expressed among them all the grief which looked 
from the eyes of this great being. But in the posture of 
the head, the curve of the inimitable mouth, there was 
pride, and a pride born of the knowledge of power. 

" Yet," whispered Hope, " she is not immortal. A day 
is coming, and she knows it, when she and her great 
father of the terrible arm and the child's face will have 
to go forth and cease upon the void of a dismantled 
earth." 

But the Thalaba did not long remain at rest, for while 
I was looking with admiration, yes, and with pity, upon 
the Angel of Death, I saw come crowding round her all 
her troop of servitors, ill-favoured all of them but two. 
And the one of them was sweet-faced Iris, whose 
mission it is to whisper to the young wife that the child 
unborn will never live to see its mother, but that left to 
her still is the love of her husband. The other had a 
wild beauty in his eyes, and he it is who guides the hand 
of the suicide. First among the company stood gentle 
Time with his inexorable scythe, and next beside him 
stood that terrible one, whose breath is pestilence and 
glance a plague. 

"Is she not beautiful?" asked Hope, and without 
waiting, went on, " see the sublime outline of her full, 
bloodless lips ! Her eyes, glorious though no soul looks 
Q 2 



228 Under the Punkah. 

out at them, are supreme in their beauty. And what a 
gentle face ! Yet soft-cheeked she is never kissed, and 
soft-limbed as Love she has no lovers. But her father's 
great strength lodges in her full form, and pitiless, indeed, 
when she shuts her great eyes and her beautiful lips 
straighten in resolve, is the daughter of Anger." 

" But was not her mother Mercy ? " 

" Yes," was the reply, " and often and again, as we 
have stood on either side a death-bed, have I seen behind 
those great eyes come welling up most human tears, and 
to snow blanch the splendid marble of her brow. 'Her 
fate is terrible and wrings her. To take the wife from 
the husband, the lover from the lover, the child from its 
mother, the idol of a nation from them, these are her 
awful tasks. And ever and again she revolts against 
Nature, and, flashing from her place, descends as swift 
as the eye-sight, to snatch from her over-zealous mes- 
sengers a baby's life, or to give back, when even 
I, Hope, was turning from the bedside, a young wife 
to her husband, or an only son to his mother. And 
then she returns calm and impassionate to her place, 
and the Angel erases the last line from the Book of 
Fate " 

Hope had ceased, and I knew why ; for while I was 
looking at the Thalaba, she had been left alone, all her 
messengers having left to do her biddings, and her eye 
was full on mine. And as she looked, there glided out 
from behind her a thin fleshless thing which came swiftly 



Death, the Daughter of Mercy. 229 

towards me, and taking my hand, drew me across the 
narrow space that had held me from death. And Hope 
stayed behind. 

And as I passed on I knew my fate. I felt leaving me 
all life, all desire to live, a helpless bewilderment of fear. 
At last I stood before the Angel, and as I sank out of 
life this sentence slipped my fluttering lips spoken in 
two worlds : " Hope told me that Death was the Daugh- 
ter of Mercy." 

And as my head drooped in death, I saw a second self, 
It was my soul leaving me. And then I saw the Angel 
turn one rebel flash towards the throne, and in a clear 
defiant voice I heard her throw down the challenge to 
Nature, 

" And I AM the Daughter of Mercy ! " 

Then I heard Hope's fluttering robes beside me, 
caught the nervous laugh with which she seized my hand, 
and I awoke ! 



" What a wonderful recovery ! " said all my friends. 

The Doctor, a young man, was very proud of it. "I 
thought," he said, "we should pull him through." 

And my little wife ? As she leaned over me, I heard 
her saying in my ear, " If I had lost you ! only mine a 
year, and to have lost you so soon ! " and I whispered 
something to her in reply. 

" Ah," said the young Doctor pompously, " he will be 



230 



Under the Punkah. 



delirious no doubt yet a while but we've pulled him 
through this time." 

But all I had whispered to my little wife was, " Ethel, 
she was right. Beautiful and very merciful is Death, the 
Daughter ot Mercy." 




DOGS WE HAVE ALL MET. 




AM very fond of dogs, and have indeed, in India, 
had as many as seven upon my establishment 
at one time. Some of them I knew intimately, 
others were mere acquaintances, but speaking dispassion- 
ately of them, and taking one with another, I should 
hesitate to say that they were superior to ordinary men 
and women. It is, I know, rather the fashion, not only 
at teetotal lectures, but in other sensible company, to 
cite the dog as a better species of human and to depre- 
ciate men as if they were dogs gone wrong. I am not 
at all sure that this is just to ourselves, for, speaking of 
the dogs I have met the same dogs in fact that we 
have all met I must say that on the whole, I look upon 
the dog as only a kind of beast after all. At any rate I am 
prepared to produce from amongst my acquaintances 
as many sensible men as sensible dogs, while as regards 
general morality, I really do not think the dogs would 
have a chance in comparison. I can bring into court, 
immediately if necessary, a large number of human be- 
ings who if taken by accident or design out of their road 



232 Under the Punkah. 

will set themselves right again, who if separated for 
years from friends, will readily recognize them and wel- 
come them, who on meeting those who have done them 
previous injuries will show at once by their demeanour 
that they remember the old grudge, who will detect 
false notes in a player's performance, catch thieves, carry 
baskets to the butchers, defend their masters, and never 
worry sheep. On the other hand I will produce in 
equal number dogs who get themselves lost regularly and 
"for good," until a reward is offered, who never recog- 
nize old acquaintances but will fawn upon those who 
have injured them, who will sleep complacently through 
the performances of organ-grinders and never wake up 
when thieves are on the premises, who cannot be trusted 
with meat, and who will run away from their masters if 
danger threatens. Being quite certain of this, I think 
I am justified in maintaining that dogs are no better 
than men, and indeed I should not quarrel with him if 
any one were to say that but for man the dog would have 
been much worse than he is probably, only a wolf still. 
As a matter of fact, most of the dogs of my acquaint- 
ance have been positively stupid. One that I remember 
well was, however, considered by my friends of remark- 
able intelligence ; but this story often told of him, to 
illustrate his intelligence, did not give me, when I heard 
it, any high opinion of his intellect. But I may be 
wrong. He was accustomed, it appears, to go with the 
family to church. But one day the old church roof 



Dogs we have all met. 233 

began to leak, so workmen were set at the job and the 
building was closed. But when Sunday came this in- 
telligent dog trotted off as he was wont to do, to the 
church, and, composing himself in the porch as usual, 
remained there the customary time and trotted com- 
placently home again. Now, where does the intelligence 
come in, in this anecdote ? 

In a similar way stories are told in illustration of other 
feelings and passions, but most of them, so it seems to me, 
cut both ways. There are, indeed, many human feelings 
which the dog evinces in a marked way, and often upon 
very little provocation. The dog, for instance, expresses 
anger precisely as we do, and in accordance with the 
human precept, " When the boy hits you kick the 
post," will bite his friend to show his displeasure at a 
stranger. I had a little bull-terrier which went frantic if 
a pedlar or beggar came to the door, and being 
restrained from flying at the innocent itinerant, would 
rush out as soon as released into the shrubbery and go 
for the gardener. The gardener knew the dog's ways, 
for he had had a sharp nip vicariously before, and when 
he saw Nellie on her way towards him, used to charge 
her with the lawn mower. Now at other times, the gar- 
dener and Nellie were inseparable friends, and, weather 
permitting, the gardener's coat and waistcoat were Nellie's 
favourite bed. In human nature it is much the same, 
when the husband, because the news in the paper is 
disagreeable, grumbles at his wife's cap. 



234 Under the Punkah. 

Hatred also the dog feels keenly in the matter of cats 
notably. I have seen one of the exceptionally intelligent 
dogs referred to above, stop and jump under a tree for 
an hour, and go back every day for a month afterwards 
to jump about ridiculously under the same tree, all be- 
cause a cat which he had once been after, and wanted 
to catch, had got up that tree out of his way. There 
is no doubt in my mind whatever from that dog's 
behaviour that he hated the cat. 

Jealousy again is a common trait, and in Thornley's 
book there is an instance given of a dog that was so 
jealous of another pet that when the latter died, and 
had been stuffed, he always snarled if attention was 
drawn to the glass case from which his rival gazed with 
glassy eye upon the scene. The envy of the dog has 
given rise to the well-known fable of the dog in the 
manger, and the story told in "False Beasts and 
True " (in illustration of canine " sagacity ") exem- 
plifies this trait in a striking way. Leo was a large 
and lawless dog, belonging to an establishment where 
lived also a mild Maltese terrier. The latter, however, 
fed daintily, and was clad in fine linen, whereas Leo 
got as many rough words as bones, and was not allowed 
into the pretty rooms of which the terrier was a favoured 
inmate. From the reports furnished of the judicial 
inquiry which followed the crime, it seems that the 
lesser (very much lesser) dog had been missed for several 
days, and his absence bewailed, while something in the 



Dags we have all met. 235 

demeanour of the big dog suggested to all beholders 
that some terrible tragedy had occurred and that Leo 
was darkly privy thereto. At length a servant going to 
the'coal-hole heard a feeble moaning proceeding from the 
farthest corner, and on investigating with a candle, the 
Maltese terrier was found buried under lumps of coal. 
The supposition was that Leo had carried his diminutive 
rival to the coal-hole, and there scratched down an 
avalanche of coals upon him, and the manners of the 
two dogs when confronted bore striking evidence to the 
truth of the theory. Of Leo's envy there can hardly 
therefore be a suspicion. 

Gluttony is common to all dogs, but their general 
aversion to drunkenness is supposed, by their partial 
eulogists, to be demonstrated by the fact attested 
by the Rev. F. Jackson of a dog who, having been 
once made so drunk with malt liquor that he could 
not get upstairs without help, always growled and 
snarled at the sight of a pewter pot ! To establish in 
a feeble way this individual's dislike of malt liquor, 
the eulogist, it seems to me, has trifled away the dog's 
intelligence altogether. Nor, as illustrating sagacity, is 
the following anecdote so happily chosen as it might 
be. Begum was a small red cocker who, with a very 
strange perception of her own importance, engaged as 
her attendant a mild Pomeranian of her own sex, who 
having only three available legs, displayed the gentler 
manners of a confirmed invalid. Begum, several times 



236 Under the Punkah. 

in her long and respected career, became the joyful 
mother of puppies, and on all these interesting occasions 
her friend Rip (or Mrs. Gamp, as she came to be called) 
presided over her nursery, kept beside the mother in 
her temporary seclusion, exhibited the " little strangers " 
to visitors with all the mother's pride during her 
absences, and in short, behaved herself like a devoted 
friend. " Strange to say," says the author, " when the 
poor nurse herself was dying, and Begum was brought 
to her bedside to cheer her, the ' sagacious ' cocker snuffed 
her friend and, then leaping gaily over her prostrate, 
gasping form, left the stable for a frolic and never 
looked in again on her faithful attendant." This 
narrative, vouched for as true, illustrates the remarkable 
gratitude " which may be almost said to be a dog's 
leading principle." 

Regret and grief dogs no doubt share also with 
men, for my own terrier when he stands with sadly 
oscillating tail and his head stuck through the area 
railings, whimpering for "the touch of a vanished 
cat " and " the sound of a puss that is still," bears 
ample testimony to the former, nor when, out ferreting, 
the rabbit has mysteriously disappeared into an im- 
passable earth, is there any room for hesitation as to 
Tim's grief. His regret at the rabbit's evasive habits is 
unmistakable. Mrs. Sumner Gibson, to illustrate joy, 
tells us of her pet, which on seeing her unexpectedly 
return after a long absence was violently sick. I remem- 



Dogs ^ve have all met. 237 

ber when at school seeing a violent physical shock, 
accompanied by the same symptoms, affect a boy when 
suddenly approached by a master while in the act of 
eating gooseberries in class. But none of us attributed 
the result to any excess of delight 

Laziness is a trait well exemplified in dogs. Thus 
Cole's dog of ancient fame was so lazy that he always 
leaned his head against a wall to bark. So did Ludlam's. 

Courage is not more common among dogs than among 
men. I had once three dogs who accompanied me on a 
certain occasion to a museum. The hall at the entrance 
was devoted to the larger mammalia, and the dogs on pass- 
ing the folding doors found themselves suddenly con- 
fronted by the whole Order of the Carnivora all drawn up 
according to their families and genera, ready to fall upon 
and devour them. With a howl of the most dismal horror, 
all three flung themselves against the door, and if I had 
not rushed to open it, would certainly have died or gone 
mad then and there from sheer terror. As it was, they flew 
through the open door with every individual hair on their 
bodies standing out like a wire, and arrived at home, 
some three miles off, in such a state of alarm that my 
servants were seriously alarmed for my safety. One of the 
three always slept in my room at night, but on the night 
after the fright howled so lamentably, and had such bad 
dreams, that I had to expel him. Miss Cobbe, perhaps 
as an instance of signal courage in a dog, mentions 
Trip, a bull terrier, who ready apparently to fight any- 



238 Under the Punkah. 

thing, went into "paroxysms of hysterical screaming" 
if an India rubber cushion was filled or emptied 
with air in her presence, and the garden hose filled 
her with such terror that on the day when it was in 
use " Trip " was never to be found on the premises, nor 
would any coaxing or commands persuade her to go into 
the room where the tube was kept all the rest of the week. 
Pride affects the dog mind, for who has not heard 
of Dawson's dog that was too proud to take the wall 
of a dung cart, and so got flattened under the wheels ? 
Vanity was admirably displayed by an old setter, who 
often caused us great inconvenience by insisting on 
following members of the family whenever they went 
out, usually most inopportunely. But one day the 
children, playing with it, tied a bow of ribbon on to the 
tip of its tail, and on everybody laughing at the dog's 
appearance, the animal retired under the sofa and sulked 
for an hour. Next day therefore, when Nelson showed 
every symptom of being irrepressibly intent on accom- 
panying the family to a croquet party to which he had 
not been invited, it occurred to one of the party to try 
the effect of a bow. The ribbon was accordingly brought, 
and Nelson being held quiet by two of the girls, the 
third decorated his tail. No sooner was he released, 
and discovered the adornment, than the self-conscious 
dog rushed into the house and hid under the sofa ! An 
hour after the party were gone, he came out as far as the 
doorstep, and when the family returned there was 



Dogs we have all met. 239 

Nelson sitting on his haunches with the most comic air 
of having something mortifying to conceal and refraining 
from even wagging his tail, lest the hateful bow should 
be seen. Chivalry, magnanimity, treachery, meanness, 
a sense of propriety or utter absence of shame, humour, 
&c., may all in turn be similarly proved to be shared by 
the dog world ; but it is a singular fact that so many of 
the anecdotes put forward to illustrate the virtues of this 
animal should, when read by more sensible admirers of 
the dog, lend themselves to conflicting if not opposite 
conclusions. 

Indeed, I look upon the woolly little white dog we 
have all met so often as absolutely criminal. You can 
see what a timid creature it is by the way it jumps when 
any cabman shouts, and yet its foolishness and greedi- 
ness have got as many men into gaol as a street riot 
would have done. You have only to look at it to see 
what an easy dog it is to steal. In fact, it was made to 
be stolen, and it faithfully fulfils its destiny. One man 
the father of a young family, too has been in prison 
twice for stealing that same dog. It is true that, on the 
other hand, he has sold it at a splendid profit on five 
other occasions, and has pocketed a handsome reward 
for " finding " it several times besides, but he nevertheless 
owes several weeks' incarceration to that same little dog's 
infamously criminal habit of looking so stealable. He 
can no more keep his hands off the animal than needles 
can help going to the nearest loadstone. It is of no 



240 Under the Punkah. 

use his trying to look the other way, or repeating the 
Lord's Prayer, or thrusting his hands right down to the 
bottom of his breeches' pockets, for as surely as ever that 
little dog comes by, " Jerry " will have to steal it. It is 
chiefly the dog's fault. It never follows its master or 
mistress for the time being like a steady dog of business, 
but trots flickeringly about the pavement as if it was 
going nowhere in particular with nobody. It makes ex- 
cursions up alleys on its own account, and comes run- 
ning back in such a hurry that it forgets whether it ought 
to turn to the right or the left ; or it goes half across a 
road and then takes fright at a hansom, and runs speed- 
ing down the highway in front of it under the impression 
that the cab is in pursuit. Or it loiters at a kerbstone to 
talk canine common-places to another dog, and then, like 
an idle errand boy, accompanies its new acquaintance a 
short way round several corners. Or it mixes itself up 
with an old gentleman's legs, and gets eventually trodden 
upon, and precipitately makes off squeaking down the 
middle of a crowded thoroughfare into which its owner can- 
not follow it. Of all these weaknesses Jerry and his com- 
rades are perfectly well aware ; and if you will only follow 
the dog for a quarter of an hour you will see the little 
wretch get " lost," as it calls itself or as Jerry calls it, 
when the policeman inquires about the dog. There are 
some people who go through life leaving watches on 
dressing-tables and money on mantelpieces, and then 
prosecute the servants who steal them ; others who lend 



Dogs ive have all met. 241 

strangers sovereigns in order to show their " confidence " 
in them, and then call in the police to get the stranger 
punished; others who post money in open envelopes, and 
are bitterly indignant with the authorities because it is 
never received by the addressee ; many again who walk 
about with their purses in pockets placed where morality 
never meant pockets to be ; who, in fact, are perpetually 
putting temptation into the way of their weak brethren, 
and then putting their weak brethren in gaol. And the 
foolish little white dog that is always getting itself stolen 
is exactly their representative in the canine society, 
which, dog enthusiasts tell me, reflects our own. 

For myself, I think the dignified position which the 
dog fills in human society can be far more worthily 
treated, than by anecdotes of his various virtues and 
vices, for after all he is one of man's chiefest triumphs, 
and one of his noblest servants. " In the beginning 
Allah created Man, and seeing what a helpless creature 
he was He gave him the Dog. And He charged the 
Dog that he should be the eyes and the ears, the under- 
standing and the legs of the Man." 

The writer, Toussenel, then goes on to show how the 
dog was fitted for his important duties by being inspired 
with an overwhelming sense of the privileges of friend- 
ship and loyal devotion, and a corresponding disregard 
of the time-wasting joys of family and fireside pleasures, 
thinking, no doubt, with Bacon, that those without 
families the discipline of humanity make always the 

R 



242 Under the Punkah. 

best public servants. " He that hath wife and children 
hath given hostages to fortune ; for they are impediments 
to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief." And 
again, " Charity will hardly water the ground where it 
must first fill a pool." The dog, therefore, was relieved 
of paternal affections in order that he might be able to 
give an undivided mind to the high task set before him, 
and thus afford primitive man, in the flock-tending days, 
the leisure necessary for discovering the arts and 
evolving the sciences. 

IfTubal Cain, for instance, had had to run after his 
own herds [he could never have got on with his pan- 
pipes ; so the dog attended to the sheep and the goats, 
the kine and the camels, while his master sat in the 
shade by the river, testing the properties of reeds. Music 
was the result thanks to the dog. In the same way, 
perhaps, we might trace all other great discoveries to the 
same canine source, and, really, seeing even nowadays, 
when man has become such a self-helping creature, how 
many dogs keep men and how many of them support old 
ladies, the philosopher would seem to have some basis 
for his fanciful theory that, but for dogs, men would still 
have been shepherds and human society still in its patri- 
archal stage. The Red Indians keep no dogs ; and what 
is the result ? All their time is given up to dog's work, 
and they lead a dog's life doing it chasing wild things 
about and holloaing after them. Other peoples, however, 
who started with them in the race of nations, and who 



Dogs we have all met. 243 

utilized the dog, are now enjoying all the comforts of 
nineteenth-century civilization, hunting only for amuse- 
ment and shepherding only on valentines. Professor 
Huxley might, to the public advantage, follow out the great 
line of reasoning here so hastily hinted at, for perhaps he 
could prove that the origin of society has lain unsuspected 
all these many centuries, in the great fact that the dog 
after all is the germ, the protoplasm of civilization. And 
if the learned Professor wishes to fortify his own opinion 
on this point, he has only to go to the dogs and ask theirs. 
But he must be prepared for humiliating disclosures. 

If, indeed, the dogs were ever to have their day all 
together, instead of as now frittering away their strength 
by every dog having his day by himself, provincial 
humanity would have a painful experience of its helpless 
condition, and many a single villager would go suddenly 
to his grave. At present old men and tiny children 
suffice to " tend " sheep and cattle ; for their four-legged 
lieutenants are neither blear-eyed nor deaf, senseless nor 
decrepid, and they do all the work, remembering the 
original charge given to them on prediluvian plains that 
they should be " the eyes and the ears, the understand- 
ing and the legs of man." If, however, these useful 
animals were to combine for concerted action, and simul- 
taneously take holiday all together, the terrible memory of 
those Dog Days would never perish from the country-side. 
The plough and the loom would be deserted, for all the 
able-bodied in every parish would be occupied with hound- 

R 2 



244 Under the Ptmkah. 

ing their own cattle off neighbours' lands, and, so to speak, 
dogging their restless sheep from gap to gap. Every 
available public building would be turned for the time into 
a pound, and Bumble would clear out the unremunera- 
tive tenants of the parochial workhouse to make room 
for stray cattle. A far more serious result would be 
this : that the Metropolitan Meat Markets could not be 
supplied, for our beef and mutton, remarking the 
absence of the usual dog, would nimbly scatter them- 
selves over the shires, instead of following the high 
roads to town. Starvation would ensue, and gaunt 
Famine, stalking forth but such a prospect is too 
dreadful to pursue, even in fancy ; for, though in this 
dire strait the uselessness of the dog might certainly point 
it out for consumption, we could not, even for the sake 
of cheapened " mutton-pies," advise so suicidal a cuisine, 
for every one will surely agree with me on this point 
that the dog, though not quite good enough to eat, is 
far too good to be eaten. 

Who, indeed, has not at his fingers' ends any number 
of stories of the intelligence, the fidelity, and other 
virtues of the dog? And who at a moment's notice 
could not conjure up all the great dogs of fame 
U lysses' dog and Punch's dog, Alcibiades' dog and Cer- 
berus, Barry of St. Bernard's and " the member of the 
Humane Society," Gelert and Lance's dog " Crab," the 
dogs of Mtesa, the emperor of Uganda, and that other 
animal who, " to serve some private ends, went mad, and 



Dogs we have all met. 245 

bit the man " the dog of Montargis and Mother Hub- 
bard's dog, and the Greater and the Lesser Dogs of the 
constellations ; the spaniel of Mary Queen of Scots and 
Anubis of Egypt; the pack of the Spectre Huntsman 
and the Red Dog of the Savana-durga ; Ketmir that went 
with the Seven Sleepers into their cave, and the poodle 
that saved the Prince of Orange ; the barometer dog of 
the Ptamphaoniens, and the dog "that worried the cat " 
in the notable history of the " House that Jack Built ;" 
Tobit's dog and the dog in the Moon, Bill Sikes's mon- 
grel and the dogs of Jezreel with probably as many 
more that might be recollected with little effort. Each 
and all of them have done duty again and again to point 
a moral or adorn a tale, and what an avalanche of re- 
mi niscences and associations falls upon the mind when 
we summon before us, in all their miscellaneous array, the 
ban-dogs and bloodhounds of story, the war-hounds of 
savage tribes, the turnspits and truffle dogs and lapdogs 
of a past day, the Newfoundlands and Scotch shepherd 
dogs of the present, the dogs used for sport in England, 
for work as in the snows of Greenland, and in battle as 
in the plains of Equatorial Africa ! What a multitude 
they become, these dogs of a hundred varieties, and yet 
they say the original of them all was a wretched thing of 
the wolf kind ; and that the jackal, a poor dog gone 
wrong, shows what the type might degenerate into if the 
alliance between man and dog were ruptured ! 

Problems enough even to satisfy modern inquirers 



246 Under the Punkah. 

abound, therefore, in the subject of the Dog. The origin 
of its varieties traverses all the field of natural science, 
and the question of its " consciousness " involves all 
metaphysics a Pelion of enigmas piled on an Ossa 
of puzzles. Writers on the dog claim for it the noblest 
attributes of humanity, and share with it our meanest 
failings ; and, although the vast majority of instances of 
canine " mind " may be classified under the phenomena 
of self-interest ^and imitation, it is humiliating to feel 
that, if the dogs were to give their opinions of men, the 
same classification would hold good, and that for each 
of their own weaknesses they could cite a parallel among 
men. Were, then, the Egyptians right in thinking these 
animals mysteries beyond human comprehension ; and is 
all the East wrong when it declares that dogs have every 
one of the gifts of humanity, and one more besides, the 
gift of seeing the air and the spirits of the air, of per- 
ceiving that which man is mercifully prevented from 
seeing Asrael, the Angel of Death, as he moves about 
among the living ? Some day, perhaps, some one will be 
able to tell us where dog consciousness begins and ends, 
and how far dog intellect coincides with our own. An 
authoritative decision would be welcome, for, as the 
matter stands, man seems in some danger of being 
reckoned only the second-best of animals. 

In a dispassionate view of the subject, however, the 
foibles of the dog should not be, as they so often 
are, overlooked. 



Dogs we have all met. 247 

Indeed, it might be well if some one would compile a 
" counter-blast " of remarkable instances of the intelli- 
gence and docility of man the human Trustys and 
good Dog Trays that abound in the world ; the men who 
have been known to lose their friends in the streets and 
to find them again who have been carried to immense 
distances by wrong trains, and turned up at home after 
all ; who recognize acquaintances with every demon- 
stration of delight after a long separation ; who carry 
baskets from the baker's and do not eat the contents 
by the way ; who worry cats ; who rescue men from 
drowning and from other forms of death ; who howl 
when they hear street organs ; who know a thief when 
he comes creeping up the back stairs at midnight, and 
hold him until help arrives ; who fetch, and carry, and 
beg ; who, in fact, do everything that a dog can do, and 
have died for all the world like Christians. 

Such instances of intelligence in men, and even 
women, abound, and are amply authenticated by eye- 
witnesses. 

Nor are any of the passions which move dogs 
unknown to human kind, for anecdotes illustrative of 
anger, fear, envy, courage, and so forth, are plentifully 
scattered up and down the pages of history and 
biography. In short, looking at the matter from both 
sides, I really think myself that there is no reason for 
supposing that man is in any way inferior to the dog. 

Yet I cannot help thinking that a dog-show is some- 



248 Under the PunkaJi. 

what of an anachronism, and a relic of the darker ages, 
for, unless a great deal that has been written on the 
subject is nonsense, the exhibition of these animals is both 
inhuman in the exhibitors and degrading to the animals. 
The dog, we have been told again and again, is some- 
thing better than a mere beast, and instances have been 
heaped together of specimens that were even something 
better than human beings. They have been held up to 
us as examples to be imitated not only in fidelity, 
courage and other moral virtues, but in intelligence also ; 
and, if this be the case, if dogs think and feel like men 
and women, what right, have we to " show " them as if 
they were mere horses, or cattle, or cats ? It is true that 
babies are sometimes exhibited, but then infants at the 
exhibition age are not sensitive in matters affecting the 
display of their bodies, and are barely human after all. 
It is also true that barmaids have been " shown," but this 
was with their own consent, and because they liked it. 
Now, neither case is analogous to that of the dog-show, 
for "the friend of man " is especially sensitive on many 
points in which at a public exhibition his feelings are 
keenly wounded, but through which a baby sleeps or 
bottles without the slightest symptom of affliction ; while, 
again, the dog's permission to be shown is never asked, 
as the barmaid's is. 

A really corresponding case would be that presented if 
some limited liability company were to collect as many 
specimens of " inferior humanity " as they could, and cage 



Dogs we have all met. 249 

them all up for the amusement of the public. But what 
would be thought of such a show of South Sea Islanders 
and Zulus, Red Indians, Esquimaux, Maoris, and Bush- 
men, Australians and Bheels, Hottentots, Aztecs and 
Patagonians, dreadful nameless savages from Central 
Africa, and queer nomad folk from Central Asia, 
Tchik-Tchiks from Tchuk-Tchuk, cannibals and Cuban 
slaves, idiots, atheists, and habitual drunkards, half- 
breeds of all kinds, dwarfs and giants, Albinos, and " the 
hairy families of Burmah," troglodytes, lake and tree 
dwellers, two-headed nightingales and Macrobians, Ari- 
masps, anthropophagi, and all the other eccentricities and 
diversities of mankind, which as yet are only by courtesy 
admitted as men ? Everybody would of course go to see 
them, but many would come away shocked. Imagine, for 
example, the feelings of the cannibal in the centre of such 
an exhibition, and the mental torture to which the poor 
creature would be subjected ; or think for a moment of 
the sufferings of the Choctaw at seeing all day and hear- 
ing all through the night the voice of a hereditary foe of 
the Sioux tribe in the next cage. Have dwarfs no feel- 
ings, or giants no susceptibilities ? Yet we have been 
repeatedly told that the dog is a link between man and 
beast, sometimes even that man is only a second-rate 
dog; and, notwithstanding this, we deliberately take 
advantage of our superior cunning and appliances for 
transport, to carry off to a " Show " all the kinds of dogs 
we can find, the little ones in hampers, the big ones in 



250 Under the Punkah. 

four-wheeled cabs, and, having arranged our fellow-beings 
according to classes, solemnly proceed to award them 
prizes for excellence ! Either, then, the dog-show is an 
anachronism, or the superior theory of dogs is untenable, 
and, at any rate, the two are not compatible in reason. 

Whether the dogs will ever be able to turn the tables on 
us and organize a man-show it is, of course, impossible 
to say : but there is no doubt that if they did, and if 
they would admit the general public on payment to the 
exhibition, the speculation would be immensely diverting 
and also very remunerative. A foxhunter in a cage 
would be an infinitely more interesting object than a 
foxhound, and a monk of St. Bernard's certainly not less 
attractive than his mastiff. At present we go to look at 
lapdogs grouped together in pens, but who would not 
prefer going to see their pretty owners, all dressed up 
for the day, with blue ribbons round their necks, and 
little silver bells that tinkled ? In another class of pet 
dogs, the wheezy poodles, the display of elderly females 
would be full of instruction, and it would also be an 
admirable discipline to go round the various types of 
sportsmen, shepherds, carriage folk, blind men, drovers, 
ratcatchers, Humane Society's men, and other human 
correlates of the dogs, that would be exhibited if the dogs 
only had their day. Or the dog-show of the future might 
be an equitable fusion of the two species, men and dogs 
together. At present men and women have everything 
in their own hands, and for some reason, pretend one 



Dogs we have all met* 251 

day that the dog is half-human, and on the next " show " 
him in public as if he were only a cat. In the future it 
may be the dogs will have the best of it, and put men up 
for prizes in the same objectionable way, awarding medals 
for the length of their legs or the blackness of the roofs 
of their mouths. Meanwhile, we may anticipate matters 
by acting honestly up to our theories, and exhibiting 
side by side the poacher and his cur, the hunting-man 
and his hound. This would be both generous and be- 
coming, and we should escape the charge which may now 
be fairly levelled at us of sporting with the feelings of 
creatures which we declare to be as susceptible as ourselves. 
But if such a scheme should prove in advance of the 
times, we would suggest the compromise of showing only 
such dogs as are remarkable for moral and intellectual 
points rather than physical qualities. Thus, instead of 
degrading the creatures into classes of rat-hunting, long- 
haired, snub-nosed, or curly-tailed animals, we might ex- 
hibit them according to their degrees of virtue, in grades 
of fidelity, chivalry, humour, magnanimity, courage, 
modesty, patience, intelligence, gratitude, affection, and 
so forth with a special department, it might be, for 
uncleanly, gluttonous, proud, covetous and ill-tempered 
specimens, and for dogs that worry cats. No dog could 
object to such a show as this, for he would be at once 
placed on a par with ourselves, with Sunday-school chil- 
dren and the Victoria-cross heroes, men who save lives 
at the risk of their own, and prizemen at our Universities 



252 Under the Punkah. 

with, in fact, every class of men who have to parade 
in public for the reception of honours worthily won. The 
dog that repeatedly carried a basket from a baker's, and 
never touched the contents would then feel no humili- 
ation in being admired : and, in a community of admira- 
tion, the dogs that love their masters and know them 
when they meet them again need suffer from no wounded 
susceptibilies at such public exhibitions. A bandy- 
legged bull-dog is considered at present a prize medalist, 
and the more bandy the greater its merit; but what 
sensible dog could take credit to itself for such a shape ? 
A glance at it, or at the turnspit, a mere cylinder on 
castors, suffices to show, if the expression on the face 
goes for anything, that each considers it is being made a 
fool of; while in the pathetic endurance of the larger 
breeds there is evident a very dignified protest against 
the process of exhibition, the monotony and the dis- 
comforts of it, the vulgar clamour of neighbours, the 
tedious length of the show, the triviality of the spectators' 
sympathy and the irrelevance of their observations. But 
in the kind of collection we suggest there need be no 
outrage to individual feelings, for Punch dogs would be 
there as representing the popular British drama, and not 
as mongrels ; and the mangy old colley, that had saved 
its master a handsome fortune in sheep, would take pre- 
cedence of the oiled and curled darlings of the drawing- 
room hearthrug. 

As an improvement, therefore, upon the ordinary 



Dogs we have all met. 253 

exhibition, I would suggest one either of men and dogs 
together, or else " a moral dog-show." A great number of 
people are tired of preposterous poodles and impossible 
cockers, and would like to see a more generous attention 
directed to the development of virtues. Legs and tails 
and other things of the kind are no doubt all excellent 
in their way, but now that we have proved by demonstra- 
tion how much tail a dog can carry and how little leg he 
can do with, it would be interesting to know how often, 
for instance, a dog can be stolen and get home again, or 
how far he can go wrong and set himself right. It is 
beyond a doubt, now, that a dog's lower teeth can be 
made to project until he can nearly scratch his forehead 
with them ; but would that dog, if his own master came 
creeping up the back stairs in listed slippers in the middle 
of the night, distinguish him from a housebreaker ? Ex- 
periments have long ago satisfied us that the number of 
rats a terrior can kill in a given time is something pro- 
digious ; but where shall we look for the chivalrous dog 
who, being set after a rat, refused to catch it, because he 
saw it had a broken leg? Such specimens as these, the 
moral and intellectual animals or perhaps we ought to 
call them persons of whom we have read so much would 
constitute a dog-show of great interest ; and if to them 
could only be added a few of the more celebrated dogs 
of the day, such as the Derby dog, Bismarck's dog, or the 
dog in the moon, the attractions of the collection would 
be much enhanced. 



254 Under the Punkah. 

It is too late of course to think of any of the Crusaders' 
dogs, or the hound that followed the Indian prince so 
faithfully to heaven ; the black brute in Faust, or the fifty 
animals of Acteon's pack ; the dog that Socrates always 
swore by, or King Lear's ungrateful pets ; Mcera, the dog 
of Icarios, whom we call Procyon, or the hounds of Ate; 
King Arthur's favourite mastiff Cavall, or Aubrey's 
champion ; Fingal's dog Bran, or Boatswain, Lord Byron's 
retriever, or angry Zoilus the great dog of Thrace ; Geryon's 
brutes, or "glutton" and "the bear-killer that Orion owned. 
These and many another dog famous in the past are gone 
beyond recall. But the descendants of some of them 
survive, of the dogs that went into the ark with Noah for 
instance, while the posterity of Anubis are still to be met 
prowling about the bazaars of the Nile villages, and in 
Greece may be found the lineal posterity of the dogs that 
tore Euripides to pieces, or even those to which the wily 
Ulysses nearly fell a victim. Agrippa's dog, that had a 
devil chained to his collar so contemporary history 
gravely assures us would be out of place, as he is cer- 
tainly out of date, at the Crystal Palace ; but there are 
still to be had for the collecting, many dogs of great his- 
torical association. The true breed of Sirius is a vexed 
question to this .day, but should be settled ; and it will 
need a great deal of special training to get little dogs to 
laugh at the pranks of cats and fiddles, or greater ones, 
like that of Alexander, to revenge themselves on enemies 
only by silent contempt. The problems of the dog 



Dogs we have all met. 255 

world, and the many phases of dog life which still remain 
to be exhibited, are, therefore, it will be seen, both 
numerous and varied, and if it were possible to combine 
them by illustration in a single Exhibition, the moral dog- 
show of the future would be both a pleasing and an 
instructive novelty. 




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The Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, 
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Ballad Poetry of the Affections. By 
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List of Publications. 



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Glas (John) The Lord's Supper. Crown 8vo, 4-r. 6d. 
Gordon (/. E. H., B.A. Cantab?) Four Lectures on Electric 

Induction at the Royal Institution, 1878-9. IJlust., square l6mo, 3-f. 

Electric Lighting. Illustrated, Svo, i8s. 

Physical Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. 2nd 

Edition, enlarged, with coloured, full-page, c., Illust. 2 vols., Svo, 42s. 
Gouffe (Jules) Royal Cookery Book. Translated and adapted 

for English use by ALPHONSE GOUFF, Head Pastrycook to the 

Queen. New Edition, with plates in colours, Woodcuts, &c., Svo, 

gilt edges, 42J. 

Domestic Edition, half-bound, 10*. 6d. 

Great Artists. See "Biographies." 



12 Sampson Low, Marstcn, & Cv.'s 

Great Historic Galleries of England (The), Edited by LORD 
RONALD GOWER, Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Permanent 
Photographs of celebrated Pictures. Vol. I., imperial 410, gilt edges, 
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Great Musicians. Edited by F. HUEFFER. A Series of 
Biographies, crown 8vo, 3^. each : 



Bach. 

*Beethoven. 
* Berlioz. 

English Church Com- 
posers. ByBARETT. 
*Gliick. 



Handel. 

Haydn. 
*Marcello. 

Mendelssohn. 

Mozart. 
*Pa!estrina. 



Purcell. 

Rossini. 

Schubert. 

Schumann. 

Richard Wagner. 

Weber. 



* In preparation. 

Grohmann ( W. A. J3.) Camps in the Rockies. 8vo, 1 2s. 6d. 

Groves (J. Percy) Charmouth Grange : a Tale of the Seven- 
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Gm'zofs History of France. Translated by ROBERT BLACK. 
Super-royal 8vo, very numerous Full-page and other Illustrations. In 
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binding, 8 vols., at icxr. fxi. each. 

" It supplies . *nt ivhich has long been felt, and ought to be in the hands of all 
students of history. ' Times. 

Masson's School Edition. Abridged 

from the Translation by Robert Black, with Chronological Index, His- 
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B.A. With 24 full-page Portraits, and other Illustrations. I vol., 
8vo, 600 pp., i or. 6d. 

Guizof s History of England. In 3 vols. of about 500 pp. each, 
containing 60 to 70 full-page and other Illustrations, cloth extra, gilt, 
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"For luxury of typography, plainness of print, and beauty of illustration, these 
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Guy on (Mde.) Life. By UPHAM. 6th Edition, crown 8vo, 6s. 



TJ'ALL (W. W.) How to Live Long; or, 1408 Health Maxims, 
* * Physical, Mental, and Moral. 2nd Edition, small post 8vo, 2s. 
Hamilton (E.~) Recollections of Fly-fishing for Salmon, Troui, 
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Hands (T.) Numerical Exercises in Chemistry. Cr. 8vo, 2S. 6d. 
and 2s. ; Answers separately, 6d, 

Hardy (Thomas). See Low's STANDARD NOVELS. 



List of Publications. 1 3 



Hargreaves (Capt.} Voyage round Great Britain. Illustrated. 

Crown 8vo, 5-r. 
Harland (Marian} Home Kitchen : a Collection of Practical 

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Harpers Monthly Magazine. Published Monthly. 1 60 pages, 

fully Illustrated, is. 

Vol. I. December, 1880, to May, 1881. 

II. June to November, 1881. 

III. December, 1881, to May, 1882. 

IV. June to November, 1882. 

V. December. 1882, to May, 1883. 

VI. June to November, 1883. 

VII. December, 1883, to May, 1884. 

VIII. June to November, 1884. 

IX. December, 1884, to May, 1885. 
Super-royal Svo, 8j. 6d. each. 

" ' Harper's Magazine ' is so thickly sown with excellent illustrations that to count 
them would be a worK of time ; not that it is a picture magazine, for the engravings 
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St. James's Gazette. 

" It is so pretty, so big, and so cheap. . . . An extraordinary shillingsworth 
160 large octavo pages, with over a score of articles, and more than three times as 
many illustrations." Edinburgh Daily Review. 

" An amazing shillingsworth . . . combining choice literature of both nations." 
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Harrison (Mary) Skilful Cook : a Practical Manual of Modern 

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Harrison (Mrs. Burton] The Old-fashioned Fairy Book. 

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Portraits of Distinguished Writers of the Day. Fcap. 410, I2s. 6d. 
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Small post Svo, 6s. 

" It hurries us along in unflagging excitement." Times. 

See also " Low's Standard Novels." 

Heath (Francis George) Autumnal Leaves. New Edition, 

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Fern Paradise. New Edition, with Plates and Photos., 

crown Svo, I2s. 6d. 

Fern Portfolio. Section I. Coloured Plates. Folio, 5*. 

. Fern World. With Nature-printed Coloured Plates. 

New Edition, crown Svo, I2s. 6d. 

Gilpin's Forest Scenery. Illustrated, Svo, i2s. 6d.; 



New Edition, "js. 6d. 

Our Woodland Trees. With Coloured Plates and 

Engravings. Small Svo, I2s. 6d, 



14 Sampson Low, Man ton, <S Co.'s 

Heath (Francis George) Peasant Life in the West of England. 

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125. 6</. 

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Heber (Bishop) Hymns. Illustrated Edition. With upwards 

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Morocco, iSs. 6d. and2i.r. New and Cheaper Edition, cloth, 3-r. 6d. 
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Small post 8vo, gilt edges, numerous Illustrations, 51. 
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Cornet of Horse : A Story for Boys. Illust., cr. 8vo, 5-r. 

Jack Archer: Tale of the Crimea. Illust., crown 8vo, 6s. 

Herrick (Robert) Poetry. Preface by AUSTIN DOBSON. With 
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Hill (Staveley, Q.C., M.P.} From Home to Home: Two Long 
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Hitchman, Public Life of the Right Hon. Benjamin Disraeli, 
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History of a Crime. Story of the Coup d'Etat. Cr. Svo, 6s. 

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Hutchinson (Thos.) Diary and Letters. Demy Svo, cloth, 16^. 

Hutchisson ( W. H. ) Pen and Pencil Sketches : Eighteen Years 

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Hymnal Companion of Common Prayer. See BICKERSTETH. 



List of Publications. T 5 



ILLUSTRATED Text-Books of Art-Education. Edited by 
* EDWARD J. POYNTER, R.A. Each Volume contains numerous Illus- 
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PAINTING. 



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English and American. 



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R. HEAD. 
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ARCHITECTURE. 
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SCULPTURE. 
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Irish Birthday Book ; from Speeches and Writings of Irish 

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Irving (Henry) Impressions of America. By J. HATTON. 2 
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Irving ( Washington). Complete Library Edition of his Works 
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-/ 

Japan. See AUDSLEY. 

Jarves (J. J.} Italian Rambles. Square i6mo, $s. 

Johnson, W. Lloyd Garrison and his Times. Cr. Svo, 12^. 6d. 

Johnston (H. H.} River Congo, from its Mouth to Bolobo. 
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Johnston (R. M.} Old Mark Langs ton: a Tale of Duke's Creek. 
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Jones (Major} The Emigrants' Friend. A Complete Guide to 
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Jones (Mrs. Herbert} Sandringham : Past and Present. Illus- 
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Joyful Lays. Sunday School Song Book. By LOWRY and 
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1 6 Sampson Low, Marston, & Cc.'s 

Julien (f.) English Student's French Examiner. i6mo, 2s. 
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Larden (W.) School Course on Heat. Second Edition, Illus- 
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Lathrop (G. P.} Newport. Crown 8vo, 55. 

Legal Profession : Romantic Stories, is. 6d. 



List of Publications. 1 7 



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Lenormant (F.~) Beginnings of History. Crown 8vo, 12*. 6d. 
Leonardo da Vinci's Literary Works. Edited by Dr. JEAN 

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Lewald (Fanny] Stella. Translated. 2 vols., iSmo, 4$. 

Library of Religious Poetry. Best Poems of all Ages. Edited 
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Lindsay (IV. S.) History of Merchant Shipping. Over 150 
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Lillie (Liicy E^) Prudence : a Story of ^Esthetic London. $s. 

Little Britain, The Spectre Bridegroom, and Legend of Sleeepy 
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Logan (Sir Wm. E.) Life. By B. J. HARRINGTON. 8vo, 1 2s. 6d. 

Long (Mrs.) Peace and War in the Transvaal, izmo, $s. 6d. 

Lome (Marquis of} Memories of Canada and Scotland. 
Speeches and Verses. Crown Svo, Js. 6d. 

Low's Standard Library of Travel and Adventure. Crown Svo. 
uniform in cloth extra, "js. 6d., except where price is given. 

1. The Great Lone Land. By Major W. F. BUTLER, C.B. 

2. The Wild North Land. By Major W. F. BUTLER, C.B. 

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I Of. 6d. 



1 8 Sampson LOIV, Mars ton, <Sr Co's 

Low's Standard Novels. Small post Svo, cloth extra, 6s. each, 
unless otherwise stated. 
A Daughter of Heth. By W. Bl.ACK. 
In Silk Attire. By W. BLACK. 
Kilmeny. A Novel. By W. BLACK. 
Lady Silverdale's Sweetheart. By W. BLACK. 
Sunrise. By W. BLACK. 
Three Feathers. By WILLIAM BLACK. 
Alice Lorraine. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Christowell, a Dartmoor Tale. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Clara Vaugrhan. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Cradock Nowell. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Cripps the Carrier. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Erema; or, My Father's Sin. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Lorua Doone. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Mary Anerley. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
Tommy Upmore. By R. D. BLACKMORE. 
An English Squire. By Miss COLERIDGE. 
A Story of the Dragonnades ; or, Asylum Christi. By the Rev. 

E. GILLIAT, M.A. 

A Laodicean, By THOMAS HARDY. 
Far from the Madding Crowd. By THOMAS HARDY. 
Pair of Blue Eyes. By THOMAS HARDY. 
Return of the Native. By THOMAS HARDY. 
The Hand of Ethelberta. By THOMAS HARDY. 
The Trumpet Major. By THOMAS HARDY. 
Two on a Tower. By THOMAS HARDY. 
Three Recruits. By JOSEPH HATTON. 
A Golden Sorrow. By Mrs. CASHEL HOEY. New Edition. 
Out of Court. By Mrs. CASHEL HOEY. 

History of a Crime: Story of the Coup d'Etat. VICTOR HUGO. 
Ninety-Three. By VICTOR HUGO. Illustrated. 
Adela Cathcart. By GEORGE MAC DONALD. 
Guild Court. By GEORGE MAC DONALD. 
Mary Marston. By GEORGE MAC DONALD. 
Stephen Archer. New Ed. of " Gifts. " By GEORGE MAC DONALD. 
The Vicar's Daughter. By GEORGE MAC DONALD. 
"Weighed and "Wanting. By GEORGE MAC DONALD. 
Diane. By Mrs. MACQUOID. 
Elinor Dryden. By Mrs. MACQUOID. 
My Lady Greensleeves. By HELEN MATHERS. 
Alaric Spenceley. By Mrs. J. H. RIDDELL. 
Daisies and Buttercups. By Mrs. J. H. RIDDELL. 
The Senior Partner. By Mrs. J. H. RIDDELL. 
A Struggle for Fame. By Mrs. J. H. RIDDELL. 
Jack's Courtship. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 
John Holdsworth. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 
A Sailor's Sweetheart. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 
Sea Queen. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 



List of Publications. 1 9 



Loitfs Standard Novels 'Continued. 

Watch Below. By W. CLARK RUSSELL.' 

Wreck of the Grosvenor. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 

The Lady Maud. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 

Little Loo. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 

My Wife and I. By Mrs. BEECH KR STOWE. 

Poganuc People, their Loves and Lives. By Mrs. B. STOWE. 

Ben Hur: a Tale of the Christ. By LEW. WALLACE. 

Anne. By CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON. 

For the Major. By CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON. $s. 

French Heiress in her own Chateau. 
Low's Handbook to the Charities of London. Edited and revised 

to date by C. MACKESON, F.S.S., Editor of "A Guide to the 

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(R.\. Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic 
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Mac Donald (G.) Orts. Small post 8vo, 6s. 

See also " Low's Standard Novels." 

Macgregor (John] "Rob Roy" on the Baltic. 3rd Edition, 

small post 8vo, 2s. 6d. ; cloth, gilt edges, 3^. (>d. 
A Thousand Miles in the "Rob Roy" Canoe, nth 

Edition, small post 8vo, 2s. 6d. ; cloth, gilt edges, $s. 6d. 
Voyage Alone in the Yawl " Rob Roy." New Edition, 

with additions, small post 8vo, $s. ; 3^. 6d. and 2s. 6d. 
Macquoid(Mrs.}. See Low's STANDARD NOVELS. 
Magazine. See DECORATION, ETCHER, HARPER. 
Magyarland. Travels through the Snowy Carpathians. By a 

Fellow of the Carpathian Society, and Author of "The Indian Alps." 

With about 1 20 Woodcuts from the Author's drawings. 2 vols., 8 vo, 38^. 
Manitoba. See BRYCE and RAE. 
Maria Theresa. See BROGLIE. 

Marked " In Haste." A Story of To-day. Crown 8vo, Ss. 6d. 
Markham (Adm.} Naval Career during the Old War. 8vo, 14^. 
Markham (C. R.) The Threshold of the Unknown Region. 

Crown 8vo, with Four Maps, 4th Edition. Cloth extra, \os. 6d. 
War between Peru and Chili, 1879-1881. Third Ed. 

Crown 8vo, with Maps, los. 6d. See also " Foreign Countries." 



Sampson Low, Man ton, &> Co.'s 



Marshall (W. G.) Through America. New Ed., cr. 8vo, 'js. 6d. 

Martin (J?. W.} Float Fishing and Spinning in the Nottingham 
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Marvin (Charles) Russian Advance towards India, 8vo, i6s. 

Maury (Commander) Physical Geography of the Sea, and its 
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Men of Mark: a Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of the most 
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Mendelssohn Family (The], 1729 1847. From Letters and 
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Mendelssohn. See also " Great Musicians." 
Mesney (W.) Tungking. Crown 8vo, 3^. 6d. 

Millard (H. .) Brighfs Disuse of the Kidneys. Illustrated. 
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Mitchell (D. G. ; Ik. Marvel) Works. Uniform Edition, 
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Doctor Johns. 
Dream Life. 
Out-of-Town Places. 



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Wet Days at Edgewood. 



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Mollett (J. W.} Illustrated Dictionary of Words used in Art and 
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Morley (H.} English Literature in the Reign of Victoria. 
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Music. See "Great Musicians." 



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List of Publications. 2 1 



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Newbiggirfs Sketches and Tales. iSmo, 4-r. 
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Nicholson (C.) Work and Workers of the British Association. 

I2mo, is. 

Nixon (y.) Complete Story of the Transvaal. 8vo, i2s. 6d. 

Nordhoff (C.) Calif ornia, for Health, Pleasure, and Residence. 
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Northbrook Gallery. Edited by Lord Ronald Gower. 36 Per- 
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Nothing to Wear ; and Two Millions. By W. A. BUTLER. 
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Nursery Playmates {Prince of "). 217 Coloured Pictures for 
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f^BRIEN (P. .} Fifty Years of Concessions to Ireland. 
^ Vol. I., 8vo, i6s. 

Irish Land Question, and English Question. New 

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Onris (C. F.) Fishing with the Fly. Illustrated. 8vo, 12*. 6d 

Our Little Ones in Heaven. Edited by the Rev. H. ROBBINS. 
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Outlines of Ornament in all Styles. A Work of Reference for 
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Owen (Douglas) Marine Insurance Notes and Clauses. New 
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pALLISER (Mrs.} A History of Lace. New Edition, with 
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The China Collector's Pocket Companion. With up- 
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Pascoe (C. E.) London of To- Day. Illust., crown 8vo, 3^, 6d. 



22 Sampson Lozv, Mars ton, &> Co.'s 

Perseus, the Gorgon Slayer. With Col. Plates, squaie Svo, 5*. 
Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America. Svo, 215. 
Philpot (H.J.} Diabetes Mellitus. Crown 8vo, 5*. 

Diet System. Three Tables, in cases, is. each. 

Photography. See TISSANDIER. 

Pinto (Major Serpa) How I Crossed Africa. With 24 full-page 
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one. 2 vols., 8vo, 42^. 

Poe (E. A.} The Raven. Illustr. by DORE. Imperial folio, 635-. 

Poems of the Inner Life. Chiefly from Modern Authors. 
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Polar Expeditions. See GILDER, KOLDEWEY, MARKHAM, 
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Powell (W.) Wanderings in a Wild Country ; or, Three Years 
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Power (Frank) Letters from Khartoum during the Siege. 
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Prisons, Her Majesty's, their Effects and Defects. New Ed., 6s. 
Poynter (Edward J., R.A.}. See " Illustrated Text-books." 

Publisher? Circular (The), and General Record of British and 
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12 AE ( W. Fraser) From Newfoundland to Manitoba ; 
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Rambaud (A.) History of Russia. 2 vols., Svo, 36^. 

Reade (A.) Tea and Tea- Drinking. Illustrated. Crown Svo, is. 

Reber(F.} History of Ancient Art. Svo, i8.r. 

Redford (G.~) Ancient Sculpture. Crown Svo, 5*. 

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Richter (Dr. Jean Paul} Italian Art in the National Gallery. 
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See also LEONARDO DA VINCI. 



List of Publications. 23 



Riddell (Mrs. J. If.) See Low's STANDARD NOVELS. 

Robin Hood; Merry Adventures of. Written and illustrated 

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Robinson (Phil.) Chasing a- Fortune, &c. : Stones, is. (id. 

and is. 

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Noah's Ark. A Contribution to the Study of Unnatural 

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Under the Punkah. Crown 8vo, limp cloth, 5 j. 



Robinson (Serjeant) Wealth and its Sources. Stray Thoughts. $s. 
Rockstro ( W. S.) History of Music. 8vo, 145-. 
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Roland; the Story of. Crown 8vo, illustrated, 6s. 
Romantic Stories of the Legal Profession. Crown 8vo, "js. 6d. 

Roosevelt (Blanche) Stage-struck; or, She would be an Opera 

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Rose (^.) Complete Practical Machinist. New Ed., 1 2 mo, 1 2S. 6d. 
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Rose Library (The). Popular Literature of all Countries. Each 
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My Summer in a Garden. By C. D. WARNER. 



24 Sampson Low, Mars ton, 6 Co?s 

Rose Library (The) continued. 

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Russell (W. If., LL.D.) Hesperothen : Notes from the Western 
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26 Sampson Low, Marston, &* Co.'s 

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List of Publications. 2 7 



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Stack (E.) Six Months in Persia. 2 vols., crown Svo, 24^. 

Stanley (H. M.) Congo, and Founding its Free State. Illustrated, 

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Through the Dark Continent. Crown Svo, 1 2s. 6d. 

Stonton (T.) Woman Question in Europe. A Series of Original 
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Stenhouse (Mrs.) An Englishwoman in Utah. Crown Svo, 2s. 6d. 

Stevens. Old Boston : a Romance of the War of Independence. 

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Stirling (A. W.) Never Never Land : a Ride in North 
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Stockton (Frank R.) The Story of Viteau. With 16 page 
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Stowe (Mrs. Beecher) Dred. Cloth, gilt edges, 3^. 6d.; boards, is. 
T Little Foxes. Cheap Ed., is.; Library Edition, 4^. 6d. 



28 Sampson Low, Mars ton, &> Go's 

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Old Town Folk. 6s. ; Cheap Edition, 3^. 

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Sutton (A. K.} ABC Digest of the Bankruptcy Law. 8vo, 
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Sampson Low, Marston, &* Co.'s List of Publications. 31 

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T/f/AHL (W. II.} Galvanoplastic Manipulation for t/;e 
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Walton (70.) Wallet Book, CloIoLXXXV. 42 j. ; 2is. 
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Warren (W. P.} Paradise Pound; the North Pole the Cradle 
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Washington Irving s Little Britain. Square crown Svo, 6s. 
Watson (P. B.~) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Portr. Svo, i$s. 
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Weismann (A.} Studies in the Theory of Descent. With a 
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Handbook of Decorative Art. los. 6d. 

White (R. G.) England Without and Within. Crown Svo, 

IDs. 6ct. 
Every-day English, crown Svo, IQS. 6</. 



32 Sampson Low, Mars ton, <SH> Go's List of Publications. 

White (K. G.) Fate of Mansfield Humphreys, the Episode of Mr. 
Washington Adams in England, an Apology, &c. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

Words and their ii ses. New Edit., crown 8vo, los. 6d. 

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Williams (M.) Some London Theatres. Crown 8vo, is. 6d. 

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Winckelmann (John} History of Ancient Art. Translated by 
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Winks ( W. E.) Illustrious Shoemakers. Crown 8vo, 7^. 6d. 
Witcomb (C.) Structure of English Verse. Crown Svo, 3$. 
Witthaus (R. A.~) Medical Student 's Chemistry. Svo, i6s. 
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Woolsey (C. D. t LL.D.} Introduction to the Study of Inter- 

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Woolson (Constance F.) See " Low's Standard Novels." 
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History ; the Medici ; the Humanists ; letters ; arts ; the Renaissance ; 

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